Senate District 28
Vernon Sykes
Sykes and Kunze Testify on Bill Creating Health Education Standards
May 7, 2019
Today, state Senators Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) and Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) gave sponsor testimony in front of the Senate Education Committee on Senate Bill 121, their bill to create health education standards for K-12 schools.

“This legislation seeks to fix a massive blind spot in our education system,” said Sykes. “From the pervasiveness of chronic health conditions in our adult population to the skyrocketing mental and emotional health challenges of our young people, one look at Ohio’s public health indicators shows our clear need to develop these standards. Our children will be best served by the evidence-based, prevention education these standards would create.”

According to the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, Ohio ranks 46 out of 50 states in a composite measure of public health, which measures the relationship of public health outcomes and health care spending. In 2017, Ohio’s opioid overdose deaths were the second highest in the nation, according to the CDC.

“Health education curricula and instruction are critical to helping students learn the skills necessary to make healthy choices throughout their lifetime,” Kunze added. “Effective curricula can help in lowering student risk of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, while improving injury and disease prevention, mental and emotional health, nutrition, and physical activity.”

Ohio is the only state in the nation without health education standards and health is Ohio’s only academic subject area without standards. The bill allows local boards of education to implement the health standards.
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