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Municipalities launch initiatives to boost schoolchildren’s health

For the past couple of years, Denmark's largest municipalities and a number of small cities have teamed up with researchers from Aarhus University on developing the website skolesundhed.dk. Intended to strengthen health initiatives aimed at children, the project is an example of how an online platform can be used for exchanging knowledge between researchers and professionals.

Schoolchildren’s well-being, mental health, lifestyle and social relations. These are just some of the topics which a number of Danish municipalities will receive more knowledge about in future as participants in skolesundhed.dk, a major web project focusing on schoolchildren’s health.

When you click into skolesundhed.dk, you access a questionnaire for schoolchildren aged 11 to 16 as well as a questionnaire which parents of preschool children can complete with their children.

“The questionnaire responses form the basis for health profiles, which is a tool for staff at schools, healthcare professionals and other staff working with the health of children and young people. The profiles allow the staff to tailor their initiatives to the individual child, support health pedagogical efforts and plan more overall initiatives,” says Carsten Obel, Associate Professor at Aarhus Universitet, about the project.

Municipalities showing great interest in the project

Once the questionnaire is completed, you can view reports with graphs for municipalities, schools, year groups and classes. The school management can, e.g., view a report showing all the results required to prepare the statutory educational environment assessment, and the school nurse can get the necessary support to make the right decisions about, e.g., physical exercise, diet and overweight when examining the schoolchildren.

Carsten Obel is pleased that more and more municipalities, on their own initiative, contact the project team to learn more about the project.

“The high participation rate among municipalities now allows us to reflect on health differences from school to school and municipality to municipality,” he says.

Thea Korsholm, project coordinator for skolesundhed.dk, agrees.

“We are pleased to see more and more municipalities joining the project, as it provides us with better opportunities to constantly develop and improve skolesundhed.dk. The more municipalities that join the project, the more representative the data, which is an advantage, e.g., when the municipalities want to compare themselves with the other municipalities,” she says.

What is skolesundhed.dk?

The purpose of skolesundhed.dk is to systematically gather knowledge about the health, well-being and learning of schoolchildren on an ongoing basis. This knowledge can be used to identify focus areas in the health area and implement preventive health initiatives at an early stage. The knowledge gathered also makes it possible to create new initiatives and, more than has been the case so far, open up for targeting resources at children and young people with special needs.

Further information

General Medical Specialist, Consultant, Associate Professor, PhD Carsten Obel
Aarhus University, Department of Public Health and
Central Denmark Region, Institute for Rehabilitation of Communication and Disabilities
Direct tel.: +45 2942 8405