Health4Life: The Mental Health and Physical Education Course for Teens

Overview

Health4Life is the first eHealth education program to concurrently target the “Big 6” health behaviours to prevent chronic disease risk and improve mental health and wellbeing among adolescents. These behaviours include physical activity, healthy eating, limiting sedentary recreational screen time, getting the right amount of sleep, and avoiding alcohol use and smoking.

  • A lifestyle course for teens to improve mental and physical health, and prevent future chronic diseases
  • Empowering teens to improve their physical and mental health, and prevent chronic diseases
  • Australian Guidelines for physical activity, sedentary recreational screen time, eating a healthy diet, sleep, alcohol and tobacco use.
  • Physical, social, and emotional benefits of being active, eating healthily, limiting screen time, sleeping well, and avoiding alcohol and smoking.
  • Normative education, assertive communication, and refusal skills to prevent alcohol and tobacco use.
  • Responsible use of social media.
  • The relationships between health behaviours and impact on mental health.
  • Setting realistic and achievable goals for better health and wellbeing.

How it works

  • Highly relatable cartoon storylines based on young people’s experiences.
  • Interactive exercises encourage teens to apply the skills they learn in preparation for future experiences.
  • Information worksheets, class discussion, role plays, and homework activities ignite conversations and deepen topic understanding.

What students say

We asked high school students why they liked our Health4Life prevention program.

Relatable characters and storylines

“The cartoons were very fun as you sort of became part of the story.”

“I couldn’t wait until I got into PDHPE so I could continue the story.”

Practical life skills

“After doing this program, I have actually made changes in my own lifestyle. This makes me feel better about myself, improving my mental health, as well as my physical health.”

“It actually helped me think about bad food habits I might have. I have since changed said food habits, and I feel a lot better about myself.”

Easy-to-use goal-tracking app

“I liked how easy it was to enter in your data for the day and to get quick results on what you need to improve on tomorrow.”

What teachers say

“The program was well designed and easy to implement. It is difficult to hold students’ attention in fast-paced learning environments in schools, and Health4Life was able to do this extremely well.”

“I enjoyed the stories- the information provided was succinct and slipped into the story well, so that students wouldn't have objected to being overwhelmed with facts and then claim it was boring them.”

Recommended years

Year 7

Lessons

Six 40-minute classes, including a 20-minute cartoon story and teacher-facilitated activities.

Evidence rating

Forthcoming

Curriculum-mapped

This Health4Life education course is a prevention program that aligns with state and national Health and Physical Education curricula. Visit our insights to view the curriculum mapping for your state.

Proven Student benefits

From 2019 to 2022, >6,600 students from 71 secondary schools across NSW, QLD, and WA participated in one of the largest school-based prevention clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of the Health4Life Program.

  • The vast majority (88%) felt the skills and information would help them be healthy in the future.
  • 75% of students rated the Health4Life Program good or very good.
  • 76% found the information helpful.
  • Most students (70%) reported they were likely or very likely to use the skills and information taught in the Health4Life Program in their own lives
  • Results showed that compared to health education as usual (control group), students who received Health4Life had:
    • Increased knowledge about the Big 6 risk factors.
    • Greater intentions to improve their sleep duration and reduce screen time.
    • Reduced intentions to try alcohol and tobacco.
    • Reduced symptoms of psychological distress and depression.

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