Healthy vocational schools

​Healthy vocational schools aim to develop and implement a sustainable health promotion model that promotes health and wellbeing among vocational education students. The overall vision is to prevent lifestyle diseases later in life. Currently, we are developing and testing the feasibility of the model at nine vocational schools across two regions in Denmark.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) - such as heart diseases, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases - are responsible for almost 70% of all deaths worldwide. The rise of NCDs is primarily caused by four major risk factors: tobacco use, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol, and unhealthy diets. The epidemic of NCDs poses devastating health consequences for individuals, families, and communities; and threatens to overwhelm health care systems. As such, initiatives to prevent the development of NCDs are urgently needed.

In Denmark, VET-school students warrant extra attention in the prevention of NCDs. Recent evidence shows that this group of predominantly young people who exhibits significant risk behaviors in terms of poor diet, frequent smoking and low levels of physical activity compared with their peers in general high school. Obesity rates, which is also a major risk factor for NCDs, are 39% in this group compared to 14% among high school students. Thus, health promotion interventions among vocational school students have the potential to improve both health and wellbeing in the population. 


The aim of Healthy vocational schools is to develop, test, and validate the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a locally developed and data-driven health promotion intervention at VET-schools. The intervention consist of an unlimited number of actions that all seeks to enhance health behaviour and wellbeing among VET-school students and to increase capacity among partner organisations. The local development of the intervention is co-created in a partnership between the school, the municipality, local stakeholders, national health promotion organisations and research partner from two regions. The co-creation process is based on systems thinking methodologies and perspectives, and six principles that are mutual across all local partnerships. By 2024, a model will be ready for effectiveness testing and later implementation at a national level. 


A pilot study will be conducted at one school during 2021-2022 to test and refine procedures and materials. A total of eight schools (approx. 4000 students) across four municipalities and two regions will be included in the full study, running from 2022-2024. The design will be a waiting list-design with four schools assigned to early start and four schools assigned to late start. A logic model provides guidance in designating the right evaluation measures and methods. The evaluation will consist of both an outcome and process evaluation based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the outcomes and functioning of the intervention by examining implementation, mechanisms of impact, and contextual factors.


  • Steno Diabetes Center Sjælland (SDCS)
  • Holbæk EUC NVS
  • Holbæk municipality
The list was updated February 2021. 
A number of collaborators will continuously be added.

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