Health & Nutrition Education Guidelines

Details on the Department's Hawaii Content & Performance Standards for Health.

Comprehensive Health Education

The National Health Education Standards: Achieving Excellence (NHES) were adopted by the Hawai'i State Board of Education in December 2019. A three-year implementation rollout begins in School Year (SY) 2020-2021, with full implementation of the NHES in SY 2023-2024. 

The primary focus of high-quality standards-based Health Education curriculum, instruction, and assessment are to develop students’ health literacy skills to proficiency within and across grade levels:

  • Standard 1: Comprehending Concepts - Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health. 

  • Standard 2: Analyzing Influences - Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behavior.

  • Standard 3: Accessing Information, Products, and Services - Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information, products, and services.

  • Standard 4: Interpersonal Communication - Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.

  • Standard 5: Decision-Making - Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.

  • Standard 6: Goal-Setting - Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting skills to enhance health.

  • Standard 7: Self-Management - Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.

  • Standard 8: Advocacy - Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.

While the primary focus of Health Education is the development of health skills, these skills must be addressed in conjunction with functional information in the context of Priority Risk Topics.  Standards-based Health Education must be age and developmentally appropriate, medically accurate, and provide factual information in all Priority Risk Topics:

  • Mental and Emotional Health

  • Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

  • Personal Health and Wellness

  • Safety (Unintentional Injury Prevention)

  • Violence Prevention

  • Tobacco Use Prevention

  • Alcohol and Other Drug Use Prevention

  • Sexual Health and Responsibility

Note: Health Education in Pre-kindergarten is aligned to the Hawaii Early Learning and Development Standards (HELDS).

Course requirements for Health Education

  • Health Education is required in all elementary grades.
  • Two semesters total (one semester per grade) of Health Education is strongly recommended, but not required, in 7th and 8th grade.
  • In high school grades 9-12, a one-semester course in Health Education is required for graduation.

Ways schools promote good nutrition

  • Positive messages about nutritious foods are displayed on campus;
  • Vending machines for students are stocked with water only;
  • School meals are made from scratch as much as possible, including fresh baked whole-grain bread items;
  • No foods contain trans-fats;
  • Drinking water is available for free to students during meal times;
  • Classes are invited to visit the cafeteria kitchen to learn how to prepare healthy foods;
  • Healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks are promoted to students and their families; and
  • Instructional gardens demonstrate how food is grown.

Contact Information

Health Education Program

Phone: (808) 305-9712



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