Health promotion as school development
AbstractBackground: Data obtained from international studies of health behaviour among school-age children show evidence of strong relationships between alienation from school and health behaviour such as smoking, alcohol use, physical activity and food choices. This article discusses these connections between health problems and underachievement. Objective: The aim is to raise the question of whether, and if so, how school development could be a way to handle both the alienation and the health problems. Design and Results: Interviews and observations were accomplished in association with an evaluation study of ‘‘health-promoting school’’ projects at 15 compulsory schools in central Sweden. Different kinds of encounters between health promotion work and school development were distinguished. Conclusions: The empirical data indicate possibilities in health promotion projects to develop deliberation and dialogical teaching methods, which include possibilities for di alogue and enhanced learning among underachieving students. These approaches to health promotion could be thought of as salutogenesis or empowerment and are not dissimilar to, and could even be confused with, school development. Keywords: democracy; empowerment; health behaviour; participation; salutogenesis; school alienation
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