A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Educational Programs That Work - 1995

Healthy For Life (HFL)

Healthy For Life (HFL). A program designed to equip middle school students with the social competencies and life skills necessary to manage situations in which high risk behaviors are expected and rewarded by others. It seeks to improve health behaviors in nutrition, tobacco, alcohol, marijuana use, and sexuality.

Audience Approved by PEP for students in grades 6-8.

Description Healthy For Life (HFL) is a comprehensive program comprised of four components: (1) Curriculum that is cumulative, sequenced, and focused on health promotion lessons, activities, and teaching strategies; (2) Peer Leadership to employ students to teach through their words and actions; (3) Family to facilitate communication between the adolescent and one significant family member or other adult; and (4) Community to enlist community people actively working to reinforce the behavioral messages of the curriculum and launch an attack on the pervasive double-messages about the target behaviors that most communities transmit. Games, role plays, videos, cooperative learning activities, and hands-on demonstrations keep students engaged and participating. Homework, which involves students "interviewing" parents, encourages the sharing of family values and rules. Fifty-eight lessons are delivered sequentially in two distinct versions. The Age-Appropriate version provides lessons in sequence everyday for four weeks, first to one cohort of sixth graders and then to the same cohort as seventh and eighth graders. In this version, topics are addressed when they are most salient in the adolescent's life, and students build on their skills and experiences in previous grades. The Intensive version delivers the lessons in one sequential, twelve-week block to an entire cohort of seventh graders.

Evidence of Effectiveness Students participating in the Intensive version of HFL were significantly less likely to use cigarettes, more likely to eat more meals in a week, less likely to use smokeless tobacco, and scored significantly lower on an overall scale of substance abuse than students in control schools. Students in both treatment versions show movement in the positive direction on measures of alcohol and marijuana use and sexual intercourse rates.

Requirements At least two staff members need to participate in a 24-hour training. Time for Peer Leader training prior to and during the program must be in place. A partnership between the school and a parent or community group must exist. Two or three family or community leaders should attend the teacher training in order to become familiar with program goals/objectives and the Community Component protocol.

Costs Estimated total cost is $973.25 (per five classrooms of 25 students each and 18 peer leaders) to cover materials, Peer Leader certificates and prizes, films, nutrition unit, and student incentives. Cost for the 24-hour training session is $175 per person (assuming a statewide or regional training for up to 30 participants).

Services In addition to training and curriculum materials, follow-up consultation is available.

Monica King, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 617 North Segoe Road, Suite 200, Madison, WI 53705. (608) 231-2334.

Developmental Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse and local.
PEP No. 93-15 (4/2/93)


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