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November 30, 1957


JAMA. 1957;165(13):1669-1677. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980310021007

Maintenance of the child's health and development of his total personality are not isolated incidents but are significantly dependent on the health of the family and of the community; therefore, school health services must become family-centered and familyoriented. It is unwise and impractical to view the child as separate from his family and from the community of which he is a part. Preventive and curative services, and particularly health education, counseling, and guidance, must be focused on, and directed toward, the child as a member of the family unit and not merely on the child within the school. The ultimate objective of the school health services is to maintain, protect, and promote the optimal health—physical, mental, emotional, and social—of the school-age child.

School health services should rightfully begin in the preschool period. Periodic continuous and intensive health supervision of the preschool child affords a golden opportunity for the early detection and correction of adverse health conditions in their incipiency.

Health services for the adolescent are of vital importance, for adolescence is a critical period of rapid growth and development. Although these services at the high-school level are at present neglected or are nonexistent in many schools, they deserve a higher priority than at the elementary-school level. The health of the adult depends on the health status of the adolescent.