Projects targeting children and educators

Developing school-based health education

Rationale and aim
Children and adolescents are generally not concerned about diabetes or may not even be aware of it. Although most children and young people are healthy, modern lifestyle poses serious health risks such as obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating practices, all of which pose a risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes (T2D) later in life.

Therefore, it is important to make children and adolescents aware of lifestyle health risks, enable them to identify and act on barriers for healthy living and to support and develop their capacity for acting on their own health.


  • To upscale the previous pilot project on the use of pedometers as a health promotion tool in collaboration with City of Copenhagen (the I-move project)
  • To upscale the previous pilot project on the use of cross-cultural dialogue as a health promotion tool in collaboration with Municipality of Gentofte (the MEL project)
  • To investigate and develop the notions of “health identity” and “authenticity” as SHPC key concepts in health promotion (PhD, Grabowski)
  • To explore socio-cultural diversity in child perspectives in relation to health education in Danish primary schools (PhD, Danielsen)
  • To conduct a pilot study on virtual spaces and media as settings for developing attitudes and practices in relation to eating and physical activity, and to develop school-based health education approaches to deal with life in virtual spaces for primary school children in Copenhagen


Design, method and theory

This area entails methodologies inspired by action research that underlines the importance of engaging actively with people and communities in order to generate mutual knowledge development on potentials for change.

 The processes aim to produce local change via health education. They will produce data for scientific analysis and possibly generate new theoretical concepts.

Furthermore, the projects build upon sociological (e.g. Honneth 2003, Giddens 1984) and educational (e.g. Ziehe 1996, Klafki 1994, and Jensen & Simovska 2009) theories on participative learning, as well as the theories of the sociology of childhood (James et al. 1998).

The concept of health identity is based on Luhmann’s (1995 & 2002) theories about observation and structures of expectation and is elaborated by Taylor’s (1991 & 2002) theories about “social imaginaries” and “horizons of significance.”

Target groups
Overall, children and adolescents constitute the main target group, with a view to increase and maintain their health and prevent the development of non-communicable diseases, such as T2D, later in their lives.

We are also targeting various professional groups working with children and adolescents. These include teachers and professionals in local administrations.

Expected outcomes
We expect to develop, test and implement new and innovative health education concepts, tools and approaches in concrete school settings.

We plan to disseminate results to a wider audience (health professionals as well as researchers) in Denmark and abroad.

The City of Copenhagen
Danish Heart Foundation 

Collaborators include
The City of Copenhagen
The Department of Psychology and Educational Studies, Roskilde University

Active Living Research, Department of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark,
Department of Educational Foundations (Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya),
City of Copenhagen (various departments),
Municipality of Gentofte,
Primary schools in Copenhagen and Nairobi,
“Ungdomsbyen” (a private institution supported by the Ministry of Education and Children), “Street Movement” (private enterprise),
Danish Heart Foundation (NGO).



Sidst opdateret 18-10-2016


Dan Grabowski
Prevention Research

Dina Danielsen
PhD student
Prevention Research

Ane Høstgaard Bonde
Prevention Research

Jens Aagaard-Hansen
Senior Researcher
Prevention Research