• Sofie Braüner Madsen
  • Katrine Hounsgård
  • Maria Aagaard Andreasen
4. term, Public Health, Master (Master Programme)
Title: Greenlandic high school students perceptions of health – Development of a
complex intervention in a health-promoting change perspective
Problem: In the Greenlandic population an increase in the cardio-metabolic risk
factors is observed. An increase in obesity is seen among adolescents in Greenland
and an increasing number of adolescents are becoming physically inactive. In addition
to this, the intake of unhealthy diet is increasing too. Furthermore the Greenlandic
adolescents are the adolescents in Europe with the lowest consumption of fruits and
vegetables and have the highest prevalence of young smokers.
Objective: To investigate the perceptions of health among Greenlandic high school
students and use these perceptions in the development of a complex health
intervention for a high school in Greenland. The intervention will aim to change the
health behaviour among the students in a way where risk factors will be reduced
whereby health will be promoted.
Methods: The research design is a case study. Qualitative methods were used and
consisted of two semi structured focus group interviews and 14 days of participant
observation on a high school in Greenland. The MRC-model was used in order to
develop the complex intervention. Furthermore, a systematic review was carried out
in order to identify health interventions in high schools on an international level. In
the thesis a constructivist-interactionism perspective was chosen. The theoretical
framework of the study is based on Erving Goffman. The perspective and the theory
contributed to gain knowledge of how the students constructed their perception of
health through their interaction with each other and through the interaction with the
Results: From the students perceptions it emerged that health consisted of a healthy
diet, physical activity, moderate stress and close relationships. In contrast, many of
the students bought or brought unhealthy food to the high school and in addition to
this, a large proportion of the students were smokers and they socialised among
smoking in the smoking area. For these reasons a complex intervention was
developed in order to change the students health behaviour regarding smoking and
diet in a health-promoting way.
Conclusion: The complex intervention developed to the high school can contribute to
change the health behaviour among the students and should include health-promoting
activities that aim to reduce smoking and increase intake of healthy diets among the
students. These activities should focus on social factors and changes in the high
school environment. In order to influence as many students as possible, the
intervention could be formulated as a structural prevention strategy. Furthermore,
change potentials were shown in terms of stress, more physical activity and more
information about the current activities offered in the high school. These areas can
form the basis of development of a later intervention. Other high schools in Greenland
that posses an ambition to change health behaviour among the students, can find
inspiration in the developed complex intervention.
Publication date7 Jun 2017
Number of pages181
ID: 259294386