What are the basic Principles of Health Education?



Health is a desirable objective which can be achieved through education. Man is a creature of prejudice, a creature of sentiment, a creature of habits, a creature of reason and a creature of refinement.

Health education must take in to consideration these five aspects of human nature. It brings together the art and science of medicine and the principles and practices of general education. It cannot be 'given' to one person by another. It involves among other things, the teaching, learning and inculcation of habits concerned with the objective of healthful living.

Psycholo­gists have given a great deal of attention to the learning process. Every individual learns and through learning develops the modes of behavior by which he lives. Learn­ing takes place not only in the class room but also outside the wider world.

There is internal learning by which a man grows in to an adult individual it’s possible to abstract certain principles of learning and use them in health education.


It is a psychological principle that pupils do not listen to those things which are not to their interest. That is why health teaching should relate to the interests of the pupils. The pupils are not interested in health slogans such as 'take care of your health' or 'be healthy'. Health educators must find out the real health needs of the pupils.

Psychologists call them 'felt needs" i. e. 'needs' the pupils feels about themselves. If a health programme will be based on 'felt needs' pupils will gladly participate in the programme and only then it will be a pupils' programme. The health educator will have to bring about recognition of the needs before he proceeds to tackle them.


Participation is based on the psycho­logical principle of active learning and group discussion, panel discussion, work shop—all provide opportunities for active learning. Health education must include not only the personal element but also social. However the personal and community health are closely interlinked and interde­pendent. 'To live must and to live best' may be a very desirable motto for health education.


In health education one must know the level of understanding for which the teaching is direc­ted. One barrier to communication is the use of words which cannot be understood. Especially in the lower grades children do not understand the meaning of health. They are not interested in it as adults are.

Therefore, they should be led to practice certain health habits through con­crete goals than to be imparted certain abstract rules of health which are difficult to comprehend. So the teaching should be within the mental capacity of the children


Few children can learn all that is new in a single period Repetition at intervals is extremely useful. It assists comprehension and understanding so health instruction needs reinforcement, which. The doctors call booster dose'


In every person there is a fundamental desire to learn. Awakening of this desire is called motivation. There are two types of motives—Primary and secondary Primary motives are sex, hunger, survival which initiate people in to action. These motives are inborn desires! But secondary motives are based on desires created by the outside forces or incentive.

Some of the secondary moti­ves are praise, love, rivalry, rewards, punishment and reco­gnition. In health education motivation is an important' factor. The incentives may be positive or negative, but the positive must be emphasized as against the negative.

The important thing is 'what to do' and not 'what not to' do' for imparting health education fear as a motive should not be used invariably. Because conduct Controlled by' fear is the conduct of a slave Fear of disease cannot be a goal, but to live most effectively and to serve society in the best possible way should be set up as an ideal.

Learning by doing:

Learning is an action process; not a 'memorizing' one in the narrow sense. The Chinese proverb "'If I hear, I forget, if I see, I remember, if I do, I know" illustrates the importance of learning So health habits like other habits should be cultivated through will practice and by following certain rules rigidly.

Known to Unknown:

For imparting health education, one should proceed from, the known to the unknown, One should start where the children are and with what they understand and then proceed to new knowledge. The exis­ting knowledge of the children should be used as pegs on which to hang new knowledge. In this way systematic knowledge is built up - New knowledge will bring about a. new^ enlarged understanding which can give. Rise to an insight into the problem.