Journal Article

The contribution of health discussion groups with students to campus health promotion

Sabine Meier, Christiane Stock and Alexander Krämer

in Health Promotion International

Volume 22, issue 1, pages 28-36
Published in print March 2007 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online December 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dal041
The contribution of health discussion groups with students to campus health promotion

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SUMMARY

Based on the idea of implementing health promotion in the university setting, this project is aimed at identifying determinants of health and well-being in the working and living environment of students and at developing targeted health interventions. The approach of health discussion groups is a well-established tool in workplace health promotion to enable participation and empowerment. This concept was innovatively applied and evaluated with the student body.

There were seven sessions held at the University of Bielefeld with students from five different areas, a representative of the university management and a representative from the compulsory accident assurance. Process evaluation was done through standardized questionnaires and guided interviews with the participants while its impact was assessed in a follow-up period of 3 years by the amount of effects.

Data included 11 distinct topics from the areas of study conditions, learning and their living environment with a total of 46 ideas for health-promoting actions. The process evaluation showed highly positive results, both in quantitative as well as qualitative approaches. Critical points were the resistances of students to participate in health discussion groups and the low confidence of students in the implementation of the proposed measures.

The follow-up after 3 years showed that 11% of proposed actions could not be implemented, while 43% have resulted in recommendations for policy guidelines, 20% were fully implemented and 26% is still in progress.

In conclusion, the health discussion group proved to be a useful instrument for student participation in university-based health promotion. Special emphasis should be given towards decreasing barriers for participation. The implementation of the proposed actions is highly depending on well-established structures of health promotion, such as a steering committee, and the commitment of the university management.

Keywords: health promotion; university students; health discussion group

Journal Article.  4681 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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