Happy New Year and welcome to the 101st #slowchathealth blog post and the first of 2018. Last week I revealed that my #oneword for 2018 will be environment following on from provocation, advocacy, resilience and collaboration.
I selected environment because I’ve become increasingly interested in the many intersections of health, the factors that combine to make, or break, our health. I spent more time reading about the social determinants of health and despite presenting a seminar session on the topic I failed to incorporate into my teaching discussions on the role that economic, social and physical environments play on our health.
I encourage my students to feel empowered when it comes to healthy decision making and behaviors but I also want them to know that the environment in which they interact can affect their quality of life, years of healthy life lived, and health disparities. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines environment, as it relates to health, as “all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related behaviors.”
The easiest way for me to incorporate discussions on environmental health would be in my teaching of National Health Education Standard 2 as it focuses on identifying and understanding the diverse internal and external factors that influence health practices and behaviors among youth. This way I can encourage students to see the environment as including their family, their culture, the school, community, the media they consume, how they use technology, perceptions of norms, public health policies and government regulations.
Healthy People 2020 identifies this topic as a leading health indicator and specifically states of adolescents that:
Because they are in developmental transition, adolescents and young adults are particularly sensitive to environmental influences. Environmental factors, including family, peer group, school, neighborhood, policies, and societal cues, can either support or challenge young people’s health and well-being. Addressing young people’s positive development facilitates their adoption of healthy behaviors and helps to ensure a healthy and productive future adult population.
This year I will encourage my students to be more aware of the environment around them and consider ways in which they can play a role in its improvement. Expect future #slowchathealth blog posts regarding my progress.
Away from my professional life I have already shared my #oneword2018 with my family and the word ‘environment’ has already used to motivate me around the house. My wife knows that any time I’m slow to attend to the (ever increasing) list of household chores all she needs to do is whisper “en-vi-ron-ment”, and I have no excuse. I’ll also be looking at ways in which our home environment is conducive towards certain behaviors – healthier living, better sleeping, more positive actions between my two children etc.
Further afield I already live in a great community and serve on a committee, providing volunteer services to the community but this year I will commit to helping with the environmental clean-up days more frequently than I have done so in the past.
This is the 5th year of me embracing the concept of a #oneword and previous years have had a long lasting affect on my personal and professional life. I am determined that this year will be no different. The idea of a #oneword is growing among the #physed and #healthed community and last summer the Physedagogy team encouraged teachers to declare their #oneword for the school year. Check out some of their examples and consider sharing your own #oneword2018.
Many educators have shared their #oneword with me and I’ve heard from teachers focusing on adventure, compassion, growth, heal, reach, connect, reflection, advocate, invigorate, consistency, no and disallow.
Here are a few questions for you to consider this week:
Q1: What steps have you already taken towards embracing your #oneword2018? #slowchathealth
Q2: Which areas of your life will be effected by your #oneword2018? #slowchathealth
Q3: With whom will you share your #oneword2018? #slowchathealth
Q4: How will you know if your #oneword2018 was a success? #slowchathealth
If you liked this post, you’ll also like the following posts:
Goal Setting (from 2015)
Regular readers will know that I love to put playlists together. Here’s 20 tracks inspired my #oneword2018. Listen & enjoy.