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Healthy Habits Big Part of Home Schooling

Survey finds many parents who teach at home skip sexual health, however

FRIDAY, Jan. 23, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Health education is an important topic for home-schooled students, says a Ball State University survey of Indiana parents who instruct their children at home.

The survey of 74 home educators who teach children in kindergarten to Grade 12 found that 87 percent of them teach health education, and 88 percent felt it was "very important" to include that topic in their curriculum.

First aid, fitness, and nutrition were taught more often than violence prevention, suicide prevention, consumer health, and sexual health. Less than half the survey respondents taught their students about prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, immunization, and vaccinations, environmental health and sexuality.

"Differences certainly exist in lifestyles of home-school families when compared to families nationwide," researcher Jeff Clark, a physiology and health science professor, says in a prepared statement.

"Many parents home-school their children for religious reasons. One of the respondents said sexuality is not needed to be formally discussed because of the family's lifestyle or beliefs," Clark says.

It's estimated that about 1.2 million American students are schooled at home.

The survey found about 75 percent of home-school educators had completed some college work. About 71 percent said they had received formal training in first aid, and about 50 percent said they'd been educated in nutrition and diet, fitness, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The average time the home-school educators in this survey had been in the profession was one to three years.

This study indicates a need for public school systems to consider addressing the health education needs of all the students in their communities, Clark says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about home schooling.

SOURCE: Ball State University, news release, January 2004
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