School-based health promotion projects

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 and evaluate the previous pilot project on the use of pedometers as a health promotion tool in collaboration with City of Copenhagen (the Imove project).
  • To upscale and evaluate 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 (Greenwood & Levin 1998) that underlines the importance of engaging actively with people and communities in order to generate mutual knowledge development on potentials for change.
Furthermore, the projects build upon sociological (e.g. Honneth 2003, Giddens 1991) and educational (e.g. Ziehe 1989, Klafki 1994, and Carlssonet al. 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.

IMOVE toolbox and health educational programme 
In January 2015, we launched the IMOVE toolbox based on development and research the previous years. IMOVE is a combined maths and health educational programme, suitable for pupils aged 10-13 (Grade 5-7 in the Danish school system). The two fold goal is to develop pupils’ understanding of how movement is part of a healthy everyday life, as well as enhance their understanding of applied statistics. The teacher’s guide is attached here in Danish and English. You can access all the material at the website

The City of Copenhagen: (DKK 260,000)
Danish Heart Foundation: (DKK 455,000)

Sidst opdateret 15-02-2016


Dan Grabowski
Prevention Research

Dina Danielsen
PhD student
Prevention Research
Ane Høstgaard Bonde
Prevention Research

Jens Aagaard-Hansen
Senior Researcher
Prevention Research