School Health Connections (SHC) is a joint program between Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the California Department of Education (CDE). SHC’s goal is to ensure that children are healthy and ready to learn. SHC takes advantage of the pivotal position of schools in reaching children and families by combining health education, health promotion and disease prevention, and access to health-related services in an integrated and systematic manner.
SHC actively supports a coordinated school health system, which consists of eight components:
- health education
- health services
- physical education
- healthful school environment
- counseling, psychological and social services
- nutrition services
- parent and community involvement
- health promotion for staff
Simply put, learning comes easier to a healthy child. Health problems, such as hunger, poor vision, dental problems or child abuse, interfere with learning. Physical and mental health problems cause children to miss school, lack energy, be distracted, or have other problems that impair their ability to learn.
The most serious and expensive health and social problems that afflict our children and youth today are caused in large part by behavioral patterns established during youth (e.g. tobacco use, high fat diets, inadequate physical activity, drug and alcohol abuse, violence and unintentional injuries, and sexual behaviors). These six categories of behavior are responsible for 70 percent of deaths, illnesses and disabilities.