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Healthy Teens, Healthy Schools

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 12.13.51 AMMy second book is intended for educators across levels and contexts in our shared responsibility to cultivate critical media health literacy among teens. While the topic of health in the U.S. is predominantly framed as an individual choice and set of elective/learned behaviors, there are powerful institutional forces that both facilitate and impede widespread health literacy. The book outlines a “nation at risk” of parents outliving their children due to a confluence of unhealthy lifestyles, despite public health policies over the past century. What can educators do about it? It also explores the basic principles of media literacy education and how adolescent health is mediated in U.S. culture through various media ecologies. I overview and question the public health policies and practices over recent decades to identify the tensions and contradictions between individual liberties and government policy. The book also explores the disparities in health literacy and frames health as a right of all, not a privilege of a few. The book also takes an inside look at in-school practices in the U.S. and the noticeable disconnect between the felt needs of adolescents and the standards and practices of middle and secondary education. Ultimately, I profile specific organizations that have emerged and their growing collaboration with schools, communities and families.

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