A socio-ecological perspective is used by health and education specialists to explain health behavior within and between schools1,2. This perspective describes the complex interactions between individuals (such as gender or attitudes), physical (facilities, availability of equipment), social (peers, teachers, family), and policy factors.

In contrast to behavioral models, this perspective explicitly considers not only individual skills and characteristics which influence health behavior, but also factors influencing the broader environment2. Schools can use socio-ecological models in the development of health-promoting programs, as this perspective incorporates multi-level health components influencing the change of behavior2.

1McLeroy KR, Bibeau D, Steckler A, Glanz K. An ecological perspective on health promotion programs. Health Educ Q. 1988;15(4):351-77.

2Sallis JFON, Fisher EB. Ecological models of health behaviour. In: Glanz K, Rimer BK, Viswanath K, editors. Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research and Practice 4th ed. San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2008.

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