Teenage Boys Drinking BeerResearch has shown that school health programs can reduce the prevalence of health risk behaviors among young people and have a positive effect on academic performance. Schools also play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behaviors.

It is easier and more effective to develop healthy behaviors during childhood than trying to change unhealthy behaviors during adulthood. In addition, preventable health risk behaviors are often established during childhood or adolescence and continue into adulthood, contributing to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems:
•Unhealthy eating.
•Inadequate physical activity.
•Alcohol and other drug use.
•Tobacco use.
•Sexual behaviors that can result in HIV infection, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and unintended pregnancy.
•Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injury and violence.