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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Health promotion in Danish schools: Local priorities, policies and practices

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This article discusses the findings from a study mapping out the priorities, policies and practices of local authorities concerning health promotion (HP) and health education (HE) in primary and lower secondary schools in Denmark. The aim of the study was to identify the gaps, tensions and possibilities associated with the demand to increase the quality and effectiveness of HP in schools. The recent national school reform, which emphasizes the importance of health and well-being while simultaneously increasing the focus on performance and accountability in terms of subject proficiency and narrowly defined academic attainment, provides the broader political context for the study. Data were generated through a structured online survey administered to all 98 Danish municipalities. Respondents were educational consultants or others representing the administrative units responsible for the municipality's schools. The findings were discussed within the conceptual framework of Health Promoting Schools. The study points to a potential tension between the health and education sectors, despite evidence of intersectoral collaboration. While there is a strong policy focus on health and well-being in schools, it is disconnected from the utilization of the HE curriculum by the municipal consultants. The study also points to a lack of professional development opportunities for teachers in the field of HP in schools. On the basis of these findings and theoretical perspectives used, we argue that HP in schools needs to (re)connect with the core task of the school, education, and to integrate both health and education goals in local priorities, policies and practices.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Promotion International
Volume31
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)480-489
Number of pages10
ISSN0957-4824
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • health education, health promoting schools, policy and implementation

ID: 51755929