08 SES 01 B, Student Participation and Health Promotion in Schools
Parallel Paper Session<br />
This paper discusses the findings from a qualitative study which examined how children can be encouraged to be more physically active and to learn about links between physical activity and health. The research is linked to the health-promotion intervention project Go- Active in an area of Copenhagen, with a special focus on disadvantaged and inactive children. The project is funded by the Danish Ministry of Finance’s Division of Health and Intervention, and involves children (age 10-13) from 4 local primary schools.
The Go-Active intervention framework is shaped by the discourse of critical health education, characterized by emphasis on holistic health, genuine participation and empowerment of children. The Go-Active approach to promoting physical activity differs from traditional interventions that often focus solely on modifying children’s behavior and are based on the implicit assumption that the locus of responsibility for children’s physical activity lies solely with children. In contrast, the approach takes into account children’s informal learning and socialization and addresses the local social and cultural factors which influence physical activity. Further, Go-Active capitalizes on the collaboration between school and local community associations and services. The project aims to promote children’s everyday physical activity through various project activities and through improving the local activity conditions and accessibility. Furthermore, an important aspect of the project is creating and sustaining supportive networks among children, families, teachers, local community and private associations and clubs, local social services and local authorities.
The research discussed in this paper focuses on children’s perspectives on, reflections about, and interpretations of the possibilities for physical activity in their everyday lives in the neighborhood. Specifically, the research generates insight into:
- children’s perceptions of the possibilities and barriers that the neighborhood spaces provide for their self-organized physical activity in their everyday lives;
- children’s perceptions of the possibilities for their influence over the forms and content of activity;
- implications for health education and health promotion practice involving collaboration between schools and local communities.
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