Relevant academic links

Here you can find publications written by or related to the work of the SHE Research Group to stimulate and contribute to evidence on school-based health promotion & education.

Addressing Health Literacy in Schools in the WHO European Region

In school, all  children  have  the  right  to  receive  quality  education  on  health  literacy. Any improvement in health literacy skills may benefit the health, growth and development of children, as well as their health in later life and the health of the broader society. In a newly published article,  some  of  the  prerequisites  for  schools  to  become  key  settings  for  health  literacy development in school-aged children, is presented. The  current  state  of  school  health  literacy  policies  within  the  WHO European Region is also  being  discussed.  The article is written by Leena Paakkari, Jo Inchley, Anette Schulz, Martin Weber and Orkan Okan. Read the article.

A systematic review and quality assessment of the evidence of immersive nature-experience for children and adolescents

In this systematic review, the evidence for benefits of direct and deliberate use of public natural environments, e.g. short-termed walking or education outside the classroom, is summarised and assessed. Across heterogeneous types of nature-experience, there was shown conditional support for benefits on self-esteem, self-efficacy, resilience and academic and cognitive performance. Correlational research evidenced higher levels of physical activity in natural environments than comparison conditions. Benefits for outcomes such as self-concept, problem solving, and mood were more inconclusive. The authors are: Mygind, Bølling, Hartmeyer, Kjeldsted, Mygind, & Bentsen (July 2019). Read the review.

A Whole School Physical Activity and Nutrition Intervention

Project Spraoi is an Irish school-based physical activity (PA) and nutrition intervention that reached 473 primary school children and 43 school staff in Cork, Ireland. For 2 school years, intervention schools were assigned an ‘Energizer’, who promoted PA and healthy eating. The evaluation assessed the impact of the intervention on teachers, parents and children. The intervention was associated with smaller waist, slower resting heart rate and favourable nutritional attitudes among 10-year olds. No significant change across other variables or among 6-year olds was found. Teachers, parents and children reported positive outcomes for PA behaviour and nutritional knowledge/ attitudes. Read the article.

Positive Impact of Education Outside the Classroom on Pupil-Pupil Social Relations

Education outside the classroom (EOtC) is found to have a small but positive impact on informal peer affiliations among pupils, i.e. friendship-like relations. Social network analysis in the Danish TEACHOUT study shows that mid-school pupils establish peer affiliations to more new peers when taught school subjects outside the classroom on a weekly basis for a 38 weeks period. Teaching away from school, e.g. museums, forests, and public institutions may require transportation. Time for informal peer-to-peer interaction during transportation seems to retain existing peer affiliations, but do not contribute to new affiliations. The authors are: Bølling, Pfister, Mygind & Nielsen (2019). Read the article.

Whole school physical activity and nutrition intervention

Project Spraoi in Ireland shows two year outcomes of a whole school physical activity and nutrition intervention using the RE-AIM framework. Teachers, parents and children reported positive outcomes for physical activity behaviour and nutritional knowledge/attitudes. Project Spraoi has shown to improve heart rate and prevent further gains in fat mass amongst older aged children. The positive impact of the intervention supports the need for its continued delivery, particularly as children age. Read the article in Irish Educational Studies, The authors are: O’Leary, Rush, Lacey, Burns & Coppinger (2019).

Regular Education Outside the Classroom and Pupils’ Reading Performance

Pupils become better readers when school curricular teaching activities are relocated to places outside the classroom 2-7 hours a week. This finding is independent of subjects taught outside the classroom. No effect of curricular math teaching outside the classroom on math skills was found. These results from the quasi-experimental interventions study TEACHOUT are most important for evaluation of school-based health promotion initiatives to clarify potential positive impacts on core school agenda outcomes because educated children have a healthier lifestyle.
See research papers on education outside the classroom and children’s reading performance (article) and education outside the classroom and children’s math skills (article).

Implementing Physical Activity into Academic Lessons

A Danish study on implementing physical activity in secondary school has been published. The paper describes an intervention study examining the effect of physically active lessons on students’ educational outcomes and the teachers’ perspective on integrating physical activity into academic lessons. The results of this study are expected to provide schools and policy-makers with new insights into the potential of physical acitivity-integrated teaching in secondary school to improve academic achievement and students’ motivation in school. Authors are Ottesen and von Seelen. Read the paper.

(Re)framing school as a setting for promoting health and well-being: a double translation process.

Nordin, Jourdan & Simovska discusses how the setting approach to health promotion in schools is embedded in the Danish policy landscape and enacted at the local governance level. It shows that key principles of the setting approach to health promotion is integrated in the Danish curriculum for health education at national level. But at the municipal level the discourses of disease prevention and individual behaviour regulation has a higher priority than the treatment of schools as settings for promoting health and well-being. Read the paper.

A Transdisciplinary Complex Adaptive Systems (T-CAS) Approach to Developing a National School-Based Culture of Prevention for Health Improvement

Simon et al. describ the structure and underlying theory and approach of the School Health Research Network (SHRN). The article has been published in Prevention Science. It outlines how SHRN has used complex adaptive systems theory to embed itself into the school health system in Wales and move the system towards evidence informed policy and practice. Read the paper.

Adolescent self‐harm prevention and intervention in secondary schools: a survey of staff in England and Wales

A paper focusing on adolescent self-harm has also been published. Using SHRN questionnaire data it investigates secondary schools’ existing provision of adolescent self‐harm prevention and intervention, barriers to delivery of interventions and future needs. Authors: Evans et al. Read the paper.

Education Outside the Classroom and pupil's Social Well-being

New research shows that relocation of school curricular teaching activities to places outside the classroom is related to primary schoolchildren’s psychosocial well‐being. In a quasi-experimental study, children exposed to 2-7 hours of education outside the classroom (EOtC) in average a week for one school-year scored better on prosocial behaviour (for instance helpfulness), compared to children in controled conditions. The education took dominantly place in nature and green areas. The study was part of the Danish TEACHOUT project aiming to investigate physical activity, school motivation, well-being and learning outcomes of an EOtC school-based ‘add-in’ initiative. Research paper on EOtC and Psychosocial Well‐Being. Research paper on ‘add-in’ initiatives.

Multilevel population-based cross-sectional study examining school substance-misuse policy and the use of cannabis, mephedrone and novel psychoactive substances among students aged 11–16 years in schools in Wales

The study showed no effect on the level of drug use among students if they were involved in policy development at their school. The paper by Luke S Midgley, Simon Murphy, Graham Moore, Gillian Hewitt and James White concludes that there are needs for further contextual understanding around the policy-development process and how schools manage drug misuse. Read the paper

Schools for Health and Sustainability: Theory, Research and Practice

Schools for Health and Sustainability: Theory, Research and Practice, edited by Patricia Mannix McNamara and Venka Simovska. Springer 2015

Health Promotion International

In the journal: Health Promotion International you will find many articles written og edited by memebers of the SHE Research Group

Health Education (Emerald Journal)

Health Education (Emerald Journal) has several special issues about health promotion in schools over the years