Got Health?: A Student-Led Inquiry Youth Engagement Project
- *Corresponding Author:
- Jennifer McConnell
Social Dimensions of Health
University of Victoria, PO Box 3050 STN CSC
Victoria BC V8W 3P1, Canada
Fax: 1 (250) 721-6601
E-mail: [email protected]
Received Date: July 13, 2014; Accepted Date: August 05, 2014; Published Date: August 11, 2014
Citation: McConnell, J., Frazer, A., Berg, S., Labrie, T., Zebedee, J., et al. (2014) Got Health?: A Student-Led Inquiry Youth Engagement Project. J Child Adolesc Behav 2:153. doi:10.4172/2375-4494.1000153
Copyright: © 2014 McConnell, J. et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Background: Schools can serve as a pillar for health promotion for children and youth; youth reporting high levels of school engagement and peer connectedness report improved health and decreased health risk behaviours. Students that have a negative school experience and feel alienated are more likely to engage in health risk behaviours. Thus, developing effective student-led inquiry health initiatives based on empowerment and engagement are important for the health of future generations. We examined a student-led inquiry initiative that was developed and piloted in one school district in British Columbia (BC), Canada called Got Health?. The purpose was to empower students to create change in their schools through developing and leading a school health project guided by the four pillars of the Comprehensive School Health model. Methods: 4 Elementary, 2 Middle, and 2 High Schools in 1 school district were engaged in the 2011-2012 school year. The project received funding from The District Health Promoting Schools and each school was supported by a small grant from the Directorate of Agencies for School Health (DASH) in BC. Each school identified a teacher champion and a team of students to lead the project. Semi-structured focus groups were used to collect qualitative data. A framework analysis approach was used to analyse the data. Results: Mirroring those found in the literature, major outcomes identified by the focus groups include: increased school connectedness, improved health awareness, and facilitation of student engagement. Conclusions: Our results suggest that student-led health promotion projects can make a positive contribution to both student engagement and school connection. Future research should implement more randomized comparison trials that include implementation information and process evaluation to move the field forward.