Health Promotion in Schools : Results of a Swedish Public Health Project

Abstract: All children have the right to a safe school environment that promotes good health. The fact that children’s feeling of well-being is declining is a vital public health concern. Health promotion in schools can help to create an environment that fosters good health, and the Swedish school environment is in need of improvement.The main aim of the thesis was to examine the health promotion activities that have been performed in Karlstad municipality primary schools between 2006 and 2012, from different perspectives, focusing on the school environment.This thesis includes four studies. Studies I and II are qualitative, and are based on interviews with all school managers in a municipality and children’s suggestions for improvement, respectively. Studies III and IV are quantitative and feature a cross-sectional design based on a questionnaire that was distributed at different points in time.In study I the categories: ‘Organization and collaboration’, ‘Optimize the arena’ and ‘Strengthening the individual’ emerged as vital by the school managers in health promotion, to enable ‘Opportunities for learning and a good life’. In Study II, ‘Psychosocial climate’ and ‘Influence’ emerge by the children as essential to increase school satisfaction and improve social relations among peers. Study III shows that classmates’ characteristics and class composition were associated with different perceptions of the classroom climate. Study IV shows that the school environment improved during 2005-2011 in the project municipality schools, and compared to the other municipalities in the county.In sum, it is always important to endeavor to provide a health supportive school environment, as it is a vital prerequisite for children’s health, well-being and academic achievements. This thesis contributes to the field by showing what is needed to enhance future health promotion in Swedish schools from different perspectives, to improve children’s opportunities for learning and a good life.

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