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We invite you to learn more about Cerner Charitable Foundation (formerly First Hand) and the donors, volunteers and partners who make it all possible.

Connecting the Dots for Healthier Tomorrows

Healthy Lifestyles for High School

Published on 1/28/2022

We believe healthier students make better learners. Students engaging in regular physical activity focus better in class, have better grades, fewer absences, and improved cognitive performance.

Currently, too many teens haven’t made the connection between their own health choices – like making time for physical activity – and the implications on their long-term health. Through our healthy lifestyle program for high schools (Healthe Foundations), we are empowering students across 27 states to build healthy habits that last a lifetime. Since inception, more than 56,500 students have participated.

Healthy habits begin with prioritizing nutrition, getting enough sleep and making time for physical activity each day. In the US, the CDC recommends children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily to remain healthy. However, the CDC found in a 2017 study that just 26 percent of high school students participated in the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity during a standard week.

Healthe Foundations encourages students to take charge of their health and understand the critical importance of establishing healthy habits now. The project-based online program is designed to be flexible and fit naturally into any high-school health curriculum. After a brief training session, teachers facilitate student teams in a case study where they assess and diagnose a patient with a preventable medical condition. By addressing the preventable medical conditions that are most relevant to today’s students, the program teaches the benefits of making healthier lifestyle choices.

Each condition covered in the project is related to a leading cause of death in the US and linked to a common teen behavior:

  • Alcohol poisoning as a result of binge drinking
  • Traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Lung cancer due to years of smoking
  • Sudden cardiac arrest caused by too many energy drinks
  • Melanoma from not using sun-care products
  • Amputation after mismanagement of type II diabetes
  • Type II diabetes from inactivity and poor nutrition

We proudly use teacher feedback to make continuous updates and improvements, accommodating the ever-changing needs of students and ensuring they get the most out of their projects. “I think this is an awesome opportunity for our students, and they did such a great job working on their teamwork, problem solving and communication skills while learning very important content. This program is a fantastic addition to our curriculum,” stated Amy McClure, a teacher at Mill Valley High School in Kansas.

Since beginning this program more than a decade ago, we’ve helped thousands of students connect the dots between their health choices now and a healthier tomorrow. If you’re interested in bringing the program to your classroom and getting your students started, visit the Healthe Foundations website.