Year 12
Year 12
Teacher Helping Student

Health and Human Development Units 3 & 4

Through the study of VCE Health and Human Development, students investigate health and human development in local, Australian and global communities. Health is a dynamic condition that is influenced by complex interrelationships between individuals and biomedical and behavioural factors, as well as physical and social environments. These interrelationships are reflected in a social view of health that sees health as being created in the settings where people live and work. This social view of health recognises the need for personal skills development, the importance of empowering communities to take action to promote health, the creation of social and physical environments that are supportive of health and development, an awareness of the impacts on health of public policies and the need for health services to be oriented towards health promotion and the prevention of ill health.

The study of Health and Human Development is based on the premise that health and human development needs to be promoted at an individual level, and within group and community settings at national and international levels, to maximise global development potential. This underpins the structure of the four units of Health and Human Development. The study also promotes the understanding that nutrition plays a major role in influencing both health status and individual human development.


This study is designed to enable students to:

  • Develop an understanding of individual human development (physical, social, emotional and intellectual) that occurs through the lifespan stages of childhood, youth and adulthood;
  • Develop an understanding of the physical, mental and social dimensions of health and the interrelationship between health and individual human development;
  • Develop an understanding that variations in health and human development are influenced by a range of determinants including biological and behavioural factors, as well as physical and social environments;
  • Critically examine health and human development from an individual, community, national and global perspective;
  • Develop an understanding of the interdependencies between health, human development and sustainability;
  • Identify, develop and evaluate behaviours and strategies that promote health and human development;
  • Analyse the role of governments and non-government agencies in achieving sustainable improvements in health and human development in Australia and globally.


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
  • Unit 3: Australia’s health

Area of study 1

Understanding Australia’s health

In this area of study students develop an understanding of the health status of Australians by investigating the burden of disease and the health of population groups in Australia. Students use key health measures to compare health in Australia with other developed countries, and analyse how biological, behavioural and social determinants of health contribute to variations in health status. The NHPAs initiative seeks to bring a national health policy focus to diseases or conditions that have a major impact on the health of Australians. The NHPAs represent the disease groups with the largest burden of disease and potential costs (direct, indirect and intangible) to the Australian community.

Students examine the development of the NHPAs and their relationship to burden of disease in Australia. They analyse initiatives designed to promote health relevant to the NHPAs, and come to understand that nutrition is an important factor for a number of the NHPAs.


Promoting health in Australia

In this area of study students examine different models of health and health promotion. They investigate the roles and responsibilities of governments in addressing health needs and promoting health for all through the provision of a national health system and health promotion initiatives. Students examine the role of government and non-government organisations in providing programs and support for the promotion of healthy eating.

Unit 4: Global health and human development

Area of study 1

Introducing global health and human development

In this area of study students explore global health, human development and sustainability and their interdependencies. They identify similarities and differences in the health status between people living in developing countries and Australians, and analyse reasons for the differences. The role of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is investigated in relation to achieving sustainable improvements in health status and human development.


Promoting global health and human development

Students explore the role of international organisations including the UN and WHO in achieving sustainable improvements in health and human development. Students consider strategies designed to promote health and sustainable human development globally, as well as Australia’s contribution to international health programs through AusAid and contributions to non-government organisations.