The We Act – Together for Health Project

We Act – Together for Health is a development and research project including a multi-component health promoting school intervention implemented in four Danish public schools with four control schools.

The intervention objectives of the project are to improve pupils’ diet, physical activity, wellbeing and social capital through developing their action competence and promoting a healthy school environment. The target group is Grade 5 and 6, pupils (aged 10-13).

The intervention was designed according to the health promoting school approach with three components: A health education component integrated into Danish, Maths and Sciences; a parental support component and a school environment component. The Democratic Health Education with strong focus on pupils’ participation guided the educational program and material following the IVAC model: Investigation, Vision, Action & Change. The programs IMOVE and IEAT were part of the Investigation phase, followed by a Vision Workshop, and finally an Action & Change phase.

Three sets of objectives in The We Act project

Intervention objectives

  • To promote children's health, particularly with a focus on physical activity, diet, social capital and wellbeing
  • To develop children’s health and action competences as well as promoting a healthy school environment

Development objectives on health education tools

  • To develop health education tools/materials, which are inspired by the democratic health education perspective, the IVAC methodology and integrated into the curriculum.
  • To disseminate knowledge of the developed materials nationally.

Research objectives

  • To investigate the children’s perspective on their participation in We Act as health education process.
  • To evaluate the implementation of We Act according to the proposed in Teacher Guides in order to inform the interpretation and understanding of intervention outcomes.
  • To evaluate the effect of the We Act intervention on children’s physical activity,   dietary intake well-being and social capital


Design, methods and data

A quasi-experimental study design with 4 intervention schools from 4 different municipalities and 4 matched control schools. Mixed methods are used to collect data: Questionnaire to pupils, pedometer measurement and a photo-measurement of pupils’ lunch meal. Focus group interviews with pupils. Questionnaires to parents, maths and Danish teachers. Interviews with school principals and teachers. Field observation of health education lessons.

Education material

IMOVE Learning on physical activity in maths using step counters
This material was developed, tested and evaluated in a prior research project and is part of the We Act material. The material is accessible in Danish and English on the IMOVE website

IEATLearning on food and meals and The We Act Vision Workshop, Action & Change.
This material is developed and tested as part of We Act – Together for Health. It is accessible in Danish in the test version which will be adjusted according to the evaluation results from the We Act process evaluation. Learn more on the WEACT website


Aim

  • To promote school children's health and action competence, particularly with a focus on physical activity, diet, social capital and wellbeing
  • To develop participatory health education material suitable for curriculum-integration in other subjects to promote pupils' health, action competences and a healthy school environment.

Collaborators

  • The City of Copenhagen, Child and Youth Administration (on IMOVE).
  • The Technical University of Denmark, National Food Institute (on IEAT and We Act – Together for health).

 

Links

Bonde AH & Bruselius-Jensen M. (2017). Is it feasible to use students' self-reported step data in a local school policy process? Health Behavior and Policy Review. 4(6):531-538. DOI:

Bruselius-Jensen M, Bonde, AH, Christensen JH. (2017) Promoting health literacy in the classroom.

Bruselius-Jensen et al. (2014). Pedometers and participatory school-based health education – an exploratory study.


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