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National Health Education Week – October 21-25, 2024

What is National Health Education Week?

Observed on the third full week of October, National Health Education Week (NHEW) promotes health education and the role it plays in keeping us strong. The Society for Public Health Education co-sponsors the week along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

National Health Education Week Related Holidays

Family Health and Fitness Day USA 

Get up and get moving, Family Health and Fitness Day USA is celebrated annually on the last Saturday of September. Created in 1996 by the Health and Information Resource Center, this day was made to encourage people of all ages to get physically active not only for their health but also to have fun with the people they love.

National Depression Education and Awareness Month

Every October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month. Depression comes in many forms and people cope in different ways, sometimes without even knowing they have depression. This month was made to raise awareness of the stigmas surrounding depression and encourage those suffering to reach out and ask for help.

National Impotency Month

Every November is National Impotency Month. Impotency, or erectile dysfunction, is often seen as taboo but over 50% of men aged 50 and up have reported experiencing it. It’s important to take this time to realize that erectile dysfunction is not a failure, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Consult your doctor if you’ve been experiencing constant moments of impotency as it may be caused by an underlying health issue.

History of National Health Education Week

Created in 1995, National Health Education Week has worked to raise awareness of the importance of health education specialists and their contribution to consumer wellness as well as educate the next generation of students. People in this profession provide knowledge, skills, and training to complement health providers, policy makers, human resource personnel, educators, and other professionals that impact human wellness.
The purpose of health education is to improve the health status of people, communities, and the nation. Educators work to strengthen the quality of life for all individuals and reduce premature deaths and disabilities. When health education specifically focuses on prevention, it helps lower the financial burden spent on medical treatment. Chronic conditions, like diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and cancer make up more than 75% of all money spent on health care in the United States alone each year. Educating the masses in health literacy is a large component of health status within the country. Without this subject being taught by education specialists, members of omitted communities can be negatively affected.
Each day of National Health Education Week focuses on a different health education topic. The first day ensures that the week starts out on a strong note. Monday, October 21 is dedicated to championing health for vulnerable populations through advocacy. This first day focuses on groups who are historically ignored and silenced and had their trust violated in regards to their economic status, educational opportunities, environmental safety, and lack of health care access. Trauma, socio-economic status, and discrimination are all factors that can lead to the risk of developing a chronic disease. 

National Health Education Week timeline

​Department of Health

The Cabinet-level Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) was created under President Eisenhower.

Social Security Act

The ​Social Security Act passed — providing funding for local health departments.

​First university health education program began

The first academic program teaching health education was launched at Columbia University in New York City.​

American Cancer Society​

Ten doctors and five laypeople founded the American Cancer Society in New York. It was initially called the American Society for the Control of Cancer.

​County health departments

​First county health departments established in Guilford County, North Carolina and Yakitna County, Washington.

National Health Education Week FAQs

What is health education and why is it important?

Health education increases knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes toward health. It covers physical, mental, emotional, and social health and motivates students to improve and maintain their own health while reducing harmful behaviors and preventing disease.

What are the types of health education?

There are at least three categories of health education: the body, health services information, and the environment in which health choices are made. 

What are the concepts of health?

The concept of health is achieving complete physical, mental, and social well-being, rather than solely an absence of ailment or disease. 

How to Observe National Health Education Week

  1. Be an advocate

    Public policy has a significant impact on our overall health. Pay a visit to your local, state, or federal officials and let them know that they need to understand how their votes matter when it comes to promoting good health.

  2. Be a social butterfly

    National Health Education Week employs a social media campaign to bring attention to health education. A number of social tools are available for individuals to get involved online to promote the importance of health education.

  3. Get a checkup

    Haven't had a health checkup in a while? Call your doctor and get that annual checkup to make sure your health is in good shape. Get curious about your health and feel free to ask your doctor about how to maintain a healthier life.

​5 Key Players In Public Health

  1. Blake Mycoskie​

    The founder of TOMS does more than just donate shoes. He also funds important health campaigns across the globe.

  2. ​Helen Clarke

    The first female administrator of the UN Development Program is an advocate for elderly and women's issues.

  3. ​Margaret Chan

    Director General of the World Health Organization, she managed the outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong in 2002.​

  4. ​Michelle Obama

    The former First Lady has used her high profile to promote children's health and address the issue of childhood obesity.​

  5. ​Seyi Oyesola

    The anesthesiologist and critical care physician is an advocate for increased access to medical care in rural parts of Africa.

Why National Health Education Week is Important

  1. Education is best

    The more we know about our health the better we can take care of ourselves. National Health Education Week promotes deeper understanding of our health issues and encourages us to rely on health care educators to stay informed.

  2. Educators are important

    National Health Education Week reminds us of the importance of health care educators and the contribution they make to the health of our communities. Educators share critical knowledge that can help us live healthier lives.

  3. Opportunities for action

    This national event provides opportunities for citizens to get involved in promoting good health. Each day of the week focuses on a different theme, such as gun violence, or the impact of inequality on individual health.

National Health Education Week dates

2021October 18Monday
2022October 17Monday
2023October 16Monday
2024October 21Monday
2025October 20Monday

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