Learning
Health and Human Development

Why Study Health and Human Development? 

VCE Health and Human Development provides students with the skills and knowledge to make informed decisions about their own health and to recognise the importance of health in society. In undertaking this study, they will be able to actively participate in making appropriate choices that allow for good health and be able to seek appropriate advice.

VCE Health and Human Development enables students to understand the current ideologies of health and human development in contemporary society. Students critically evaluate the health and development of the individual across the lifespan in the context of both Australia’s and global health and human development.

VCE Health and Human Development offers students a range of pathways and caters to those who wish to pursue further formal study in areas such as health promotion, community health research and policy development, humanitarian aid work, allied health practices, education, and the health profession.

VCE Health and Human Development provides students with the skills and knowledge to make informed decisions about their own health and to recognise the importance of health in society. In undertaking this study, they will be able to actively participate in making appropriate choices that allow for good health and be able to seek appropriate advice.

VCE Health and Human Development enables students to understand the current ideologies of health and human development in contemporary society. Students critically evaluate the health and development of the individual across the lifespan in the context of both Australia’s and global health and human development.

VCE Health and Human Development offers students a range of pathways and caters to those who wish to pursue further formal study in areas such as health promotion, community health research and policy development, humanitarian aid work, allied health practices, education, and the health profession. 

Structure

The study is made up of four units:

Unit 1: The health and development of Australia’s youth

Unit 2: Individual human development and health issues

Unit 3: Australia’s health

Unit 4: Global health and human development

Each unit deals with specific content contained in areas of study and is designed to enable students to achieve a set of outcomes for that unit. Each outcome is described in terms of key knowledge and key skills.  

Outcomes
Outcomes define what students will know and be able to do as a result of undertaking the study.

Outcomes include a summary statement and the key knowledge and skills that underpin them. Only the summary statements have been reproduced below and must be read in conjunction with the key knowledge and skills published in the study design.  

Unit 1 - The Health and Development of Australia’s Youth 

In this unit students are introduced to the concepts of health and individual human development. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ (World Health Organization, 1946). The WHO’s definition is still widely used today, despite the identification of a number of limitations.

Individual human development is a lifelong continuous process beginning at conception and ending with death and is perceived as involving a series of orderly and predictable changes, which can be classified as physical, social, emotional and intellectual.

This unit focuses on the health and individual human development of Australia’s youth. For the purposes of this study, ‘youth’ is defined as twelve to eighteen years of age; however, it should be acknowledged that some agencies may use differing age classifications for the stage of youth. There are many factors that influence health and individual human development of youth, including the importance of nutrition.

In this unit students identify issues that have an impact on the health and individual human development of Australia’s youth. Students investigate one health issue in detail and analyse personal, community and government strategies or programs that affect youth health and individual human development.    

Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe the dimensions of, and the interrelationships within and between, youth health and individual human development, and analyse the heath status of Australia’s youth using appropriate measurements.  

Outcome 2  
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and explain the factors that have an impact on the health and individual human development of Australia’s youth, outline health issues relevant to Australia’s youth and, in relation to a specific health issue, analyse strategies or programs that have an impact on youth health and development.

Unit 2 - Individual Human Development and Health Issues 

Individual human development involves a series of orderly and predictable changes, which can be classified as physical, social, emotional and intellectual. Over the lifespan, individuals accumulate life experiences that affect both their health and individual human development.

This unit focuses on the health and individual human development for the lifespan stages of prenatal, childhood and adulthood. The prenatal stage is characterised as the most rapid time of growth and physical development during the human lifespan. During this stage the health and development of the embryo/foetus is shaped by a range of determinants, which in turn can have an impact on future health and development.

Health and development during childhood has also been identified as having a significant impact on both health and development throughout the rest of the lifespan. There are many determinants of health and development of Australia’s children; however, social factors such as family and community are crucial, as children develop through their relationships with others.

The lifespan stage of adulthood represents a period of great diversity. The period of adulthood commonly spans a time frame of over sixty years. The health and individual human development of this group can vary considerably and is influenced by a range of determinants, which include physical environment, biological, behavioural and social.

In this unit students identify issues that affect the health and individual human development of Australia’s mothers and babies, children and adults. Students investigate health issues in detail and analyse personal, community and government strategies and programs that affect the health and individual human development of mothers and babies, children and adults.

The health status of Australia’s youth is good and continues to improve as demonstrated by reductions in morbidity and mortality from communicable diseases, chronic diseases, suicide, motor vehicle accidents and other injuries. However, Australia’s youth still experience a range of health issues that affect both their immediate and longer term health and individual human development.

Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and explain factors that affect the health and individual human development during the prenatal stage.  

Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and explain factors that affect the health and individual human development of Australia’s children.  

Outcome 3
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and explain the factors that affect the health and individual human development of Australia’s adults.   

Unit 3 - Australia’s Health 

Australians generally enjoy good health and are among the healthiest people in the world. The health status of Australians can be measured in many ways, such as consideration of burden of disease, health adjusted life expectancy, disability adjusted life years (DALYs), life expectancy, under-five mortality rate, mortality and morbidity rates, incidence and prevalence of disease. Despite Australia’s good health status, there is still potential for improvements. The National Health Priority Areas (NHPAs) initiative provides a national approach that aims to improve health status in the areas that contribute most of the burden of disease in Australia. Regardless of how health is measured, health is not shared equally by all Australians. Different levels of health are experienced by different groups, which can be attributed to the determinants of health, including the physical environment, biological, behavioural and social.

Funding for the Australian health system involves a combination of both government and nongovernment sources. The Australian Government makes a significant contribution to the health system through the funding of Medicare. Both government and non-government organisations play an important role in the implementation of a range of initiatives designed to promote health in Australia.

Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to compare the health status of Australia’s population with that of other developed countries, compare and explain the variations in health status of population groups within Australia and discuss the role of the National Health Priority Areas in improving Australia’s health status.  

Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to discuss and analyse approaches to health and health promotion, and describe Australia’s health system and the different roles of government and non-government organisations in promoting health. 

Unit 4 - Global health and human development

This unit takes a global perspective on achieving sustainable improvements in health and human development. In the context of this unit human development is about creating an environment in which people can develop to their full potential and lead productive, creative lives in accord with their needs and interests. It is about expanding people’s choices and enhancing capabilities (the range of things people can be and do), having access to knowledge, health and a decent standard of living, and participating in the life of their community and decisions affecting their lives (adapted from the United Nations Development Programme, 1990). Sustainability ‘implies meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (96th plenary meeting of the UN, December 1987).

The United Nations (UN) human development work is encapsulated in the Millennium Development Goals, where the world’s countries have agreed to a set of measurable goals and targets for combatting poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women. A significant focus of the Millennium Development Goals is reducing the inequalities that result in human poverty and lead to inequalities in health status and human development.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority for international health within the United Nations. Both the WHO and the UN have a range of strategies aimed at reducing global burdens of disease and promoting human development through the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) manages the Australian Government’s overseas aid program. AusAID aims to reduce poverty in developing countries and improve human development, with a focus on assisting developing countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Non-government organisations also play a role in promoting sustainable human development. 

Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse factors contributing to variations in health status between Australia and developing countries, and evaluate progress towards the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.  

Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and evaluate programs implemented by international and Australian government and non-government organisations, and analyse the interrelationships between health, human development and sustainability. 

Assessment

Satisfactory Completion 

The award of satisfactory completion for a unit is based on a decision that the student has demonstrated achievement of the set of outcomes specified for the unit.

Levels of Achievement 

Units 1 and 2 
Emmaus College students complete graded Assessment Tasks and Semester Examinations as part of the Assessment process for Units 1 and 2..  

Units 3 and 4
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority will supervise the assessment of all students undertaking Units 3 and 4. In the study of VCE Health and Human Development students’ level of achievement will be determined by School-assessed Coursework and an end-of-year examination.

Percentage contributions to the study score in VCE Health and Human Development are as follows:

Unit 3 School-assessed Coursework 25%
Unit 4 School-assessed Coursework 25%
End-of-year examination 50%