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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


GAVIDIA CATALAN, Valentín. Health Education in the Spanish School Manuals. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2003, vol.77, n.2, pp.275-285. ISSN 2173-9110.

Background: The school manual or textbook is the educational tool most used by the teaching staff. This study is aimed as ascertaining how Education for Health is dealt with in Primary and Secondary school textbooks, which is of utmost importance as regards finding out how they are implemented in the classroom, as well as setting out some points for thought for the authors and editors of these texts and for the teaching staff and healthcare personnel providing assistance to the schools. Method: A total of 297 textbooks were analyzed, 123 of which were used at the Primary level, 149 at the Compulsory Secondary level and 25 at the Higher Secondary level. This study deals with five aspects: 1) Presence or absence of Education for Health 2) Health-related topics included 3) Degree of health covered 4) Included in the subject or dealt with on a transversal basis and 5) Methodological aspects. A number of criteria for analysis have been defined for each one of these aspects which will make it possible to consider the degree to which they are covered. Results: Sixty-three percent of the books analyzed included topics related to Education for Health. The topics dealt with most were related to matters of hygiene (39.5%), followed by eating (26.5%). The health-related concept most often dealt with is that of being disease-free (36.9%) and a state of well-being (20%). Somewhat over half of the textbooks dealing with health provide learning activities, although only in certain isolated cases (57.7%). The methodology most often used is informative explanation (32.4%) without dealing with the procedure-related contents or attitude-related criteria. Conclusions: The current school manuals are not sufficient either as a point of reference or as an adequate resource in order for the teaching staff to provide Education for Health in the classroom, as they do not place sufficient emphasis thereon despite its being considered a transversal subject, and when they indeed do so, the way in which they are oriented does not set attitudes or behaviors into motion.

Keywords : Health promotion; Health education; School health; Curriculum; Textbooks.

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