The aim of this project is to explore the enablers and barriers of embedding a healthy school culture in order to co-create and evaluate a series of processes and activities to positively impact the lifestyle choices of adolescents.
Brief description of the work
Research has shown that poor lifestyle choices tend to go hand in hand and together contribute to a variety of illnesses. Recent government figures show that 35% of adolescents (aged 11–15) in the UK are considered overweight or obese, 80% do not meet the government PA guidelines, and depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents. Schools are viewed as good settings in which to encourage and promote healthy lifestyle choices to children and adolescents. However, well developed, evidence-based programmes which enable secondary schools to support their pupils in making healthy lifestyle choices are needed. The current work is part of a fellowship and aims to develop a programme of activities with secondary school, students, families and their community to support them to create a health promoting environment to support adolescents in making healthier choices.
Development work (2016):
We have worked with a young persons’ advisory group (YPAG) comprising of secondary school pupils (11-14 year olds) who have assisted and advised us on the development work and how best to conduct it. Initial focus groups were carried out with pupils in Years 7 and 8 across three local secondary schools to understand the facilitators and barriers to making healthy lifestyle choices. https://doi.org/10.1177/0017896919826606.
The ASET Fellowship (2017-2020):
Phase 1: To review the current literature on the effectiveness of Health Promoting School approach to positively impact diet and physical activity outcomes of pupils attending secondary schools (11-18 year olds) and the underlying processes which support implementation.
Phase 2: To understand the enablers and barriers to creating a health promoting school culture, to support lifestyle behaviours, particularly at the time of transition to secondary school.
Phase 3: To develop a programme of processes and activities, working closely with one secondary school, to support a health promoting environment.
Phase 4: To pilot the process/activities developed in phase 3.