Matches Health Literacy Standards

The National Health Education Standards were developed by applying the characteristics of a well-educated, literate person within the context of health. Health literacy refers to the ability of individuals to obtain, interpret and understand basic health information and services, and the competence to use such information and services in ways which enhance health. According to the formulators of the standards, there are four characteristics of a health-literate person:

  • being a responsible member of society
  • being a self-directed learner
  • being an effective communicator
  • critical thinking

Being a responsible member of society

A health-literate person realizes her/his obligation to:

Insure that the community is kept healthy, safe, and secure so that all citizens can experience a high quality of life.

Relevant Ripple Effects topics include: safety (as a factor in decision making) community (as partial source of identity) violence, recklessness, spreading STDs

Avoid behaviors which pose a health or safety threat to themselves and/or others or an undue burden to society.

Relevant Ripple Effects topics include: recklessness, suicide, spreading STDs, eating disorders, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and evaluating alternatives by using safety as one of the five key standards in making decisions.

Apply democratic and organizational principles in collaboration with others to maintain and improve individual, family and community health.

Relevant Ripple Effects topics include: group skills (including making space for others, resolving conflict, participating in group discussions,) exercising rights, confronting injustice.


Being a Self-directed Learner

A health-literate person:

Has a command of the dynamic health promotion and disease prevention knowledge base.

Relevant Ripple Effects topics include: AIDS, STDs, diet, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sleep, pregnancy, exercise, obesity, eating disorders, depression.

Uses literacy, numeric skills and critical thinking skills to gather, analyze and apply health information as his/her needs and priorities change throughout life.

Relevant Ripple Effects elements include: logic and language activities, critical thinking exercises, transfer training, journaling, and skill building in decision-making, emotional regulation, impulse control, and resisting pressure.

Applies interpersonal and social skills in relationships to learn about and from others, and mature toward a high-level health status.

The entire Ripple Effects series is relevant to this standard, including more than 400 role-plays, 400 practice opportunities in situations involving friends and family, and 50+ skill building lessons in connecting in community, empathy, and assertiveness.


Being an Effective Communicator

A health-literate person:

Organizes and conveys the beliefs, ideas, and information about health through oral, written, artistic, graphic and technological media.

Relevant Ripple Effects activities include: journal, art, music, and language interactive activities, and media analysis. More than 3,000 journaling exercises build language skills for communicating about health topics. Students are encouraged to submit their own “True Story” videos to be included in future versions of the program.

Creates a climate of understanding and concern for others by listening carefully, responding thoughtfully, and presenting a supportive demeanor which encourages others to express themselves.

Relevant Ripple Effects lessons include: empathy training in active listening, paraphrasing, use of body language, asking open ended questions, showing respect, courtesy, giving help, making space for others, and appreciating diversity.

Advocates for positions, policies and programs that are in the best interest of society and intended to enhance personal, family and community health.

Relevant Ripple Effects tutorials include: training in exercising rights, making a complaint, confronting injustice.


Critical Thinking

This refers to the ability of a person to:

Identify and creatively address health problems and issues at multiple levels, ranging from personal to international.

Relevant Ripple Effects topics range from the interpersonal through the intrapersonal, to the wider community, including immigrant issues.

Utilize a variety of sources to access current, credible, and applicable information required to make sound health-related decisions.

Relevant Ripple Effects elements include systematic training in decision making and problem solving, and within-program access to the Web, where research information and links to community resources are updated regularly.

Understand and apply principles of creative thinking along with models of decision making and goal setting in a health promotion context.

Relevant Ripple Effects skill building elements include brainstorming, goal setting, identifying areas of personal creativity.

The entire Ripple Effects system is built on a critical thinking, problem solving mode. Scenarios provide the starting point for each of the hundreds of topics. The Brain journal learning mode includes 2500 writing exercises designed around a critical thinking process which includes: naming the problem, identifying feelings connected to it, coming up with options, committing to specific goals and identifying support people in the community who can help.


Ripple Effects and Health Frameworks

Specific topics in Ripple Effects address the following list of topic areas found in the National Health Frameworks. The National Health Framework is listed first, followed by the relevant Ripple Effects topics. Individual users can block any Ripple Effects topic to adapt the program to match local community values and needs.

Communication Skills

body language, introducing yourself, having a conversation, participating in group discussion, inviting someone, expressing thanks, expressing sympathy, giving and receiving compliments, making an apology, ignoring


Belonging skills, including group skills: dealing with authority, joining a group, making space for others, giving and getting help, resolving conflict, sharing, accessing community resources

Consumer Health

diet, money, drugs, exercise, making a complaint

Decision Making

identifying problems, brainstorming options, evaluating alternatives, trying solutions and alternatives

Disease Prevention

STDs, HIV, AIDS, chronic illness, diabetes, asthma, visual and hearing impairments, obesity

Drug Prevention

drugs by category and name, alcohol, alcoholism, tobacco, refusal skills, decision making, predicting consequences

Ethnic Groups

religious diversity, racial diversity, ethnic and cultural differences, community history, personal history, hate crimes (both victim and offender), tolerance


exercise, sports and exercise, self-image, posture, weight


risky behavior, recklessness, violence, safety as factor in decision making, bullies, gangs, weapons, online safety


self esteem, self-image, identity, self respect, self confidence


sex, abstinence, sexual orientation, sexual abuse – victim and offender, rape – victim and offender, birth control, condoms, pregnancy, personal values, practicing sexual restraint, setting limits

Social and Emotional Health

More than 50 tutorials address social and emotional health, including feelings: understanding of, awareness of, managing, expressing

Stress Management

anxiety attacks, stress, pressure, relaxation techniques, self-talk

Goal Setting

setting goals, evaluating performance, contracts, perseverance, future orientation, resilience

Growth and Development

puberty, appearance, attachment objects, gender and cultural differences, sexuality, menstruation, bra, wet dreams, roles and role models, stereotypes, beliefs, emotional maturity


body image, diet, dieting, eating disorders, weight, obesity

Personal Health

appearance, sleep problems, body odor, puberty, acne, glasses


family, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, teacher, abuse, setting limits, body image, breaking up, peer pressure. belonging


responsibility, accepting consequences, impulse control, reliability

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