Created by the World Health Organization and first observed on July 22, 1948, World Health Day is now celebrated on April 7. Which leads me, naturally, to ask the question: "Where can kids go online for reliable health information?" Although it is always important to know the source of any information you are trusting, it is even more so with health information. With that in mind, here are my health picks for kids and the families who love them.
This marvelous site covers both your physical health (Body Works) and emotional well being (Mind Matters.) My favorite click is the Shockwave Body Tour ("Find out how your body works! Do a body tour and have a real close look.") Be sure to click on "Down" in order to view all four chapters of the tour: The Body, The Muscles, The Organs, and The Skeleton. For more anatomy (or if you don't have Shockwave), read The Body in More Detail.
"I'm Louise ï¿½ most people call me Lou ï¿½ and I live in Kansas. I feel pretty rotten now. I have a sore throat, a cough, and achy muscles. Doctor Petrie said I caught the flu -- that's short for influenza. My friends Sue, Hugh, and Stu also caught it. I hear it's going around (and not just to people whose names rhyme!)" Find out how a virus travels around the world, and ends up in Kansas, in this fun illustrated story from American Museum of Natural History.
"Calling all kids. Ever wonder how your body works? What makes you sick? Or how to keep safe? Get all the answers to your health questions in this kids only section." This comprehensive site is my pick of the day because of its depth, breadth and excellent organization. For example, listed under "People, Places, & Things That Help You Feel Better" are articles on Going to the Dentist (filled under People), What Happens at the Emergency Room (found under Places) and Living with Braces (listed under Things).
"The brain consists of several large regions, each responsible for some of the activities vital for living. These include the brainstem, cerebellum, limbic system, diencephalon, and cerebral cortex." Produced by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institutes of Health, this site explains the effects of drug abuse on the body and the brain for kids in fifth grade and above. The Teachers Guide gives additional background and classroom activities. All material is in the public domain and may be copied freely.
"Welcome to SGR4KIDS, your online smoke-free magazine. We asked kids across the country, 'What do you and your friends think about smoking, and what do you want to see in this magazine?' You will find their words and ideas in SGR4KIDS. Read on!" My two favorite sections are Be an Ad Buster, where kids critique the images portrayed in cigarette billboards and magazine ads and Six Facts about Kids and Smoking. "Most people start using tobacco before they finish high school. This means that if you stay smoke-free in school, you will probably never smoke."