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Creating a Healthier Campus Community Using Action Research and Health Promotion Strategies: Students and Organizational Leaders as Partners

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Title: Creating a Healthier Campus Community Using Action Research and Health Promotion Strategies: Students and Organizational Leaders as Partners
Author: Budgen, Claire; Callaghan, Doris; Gamble, Diane; Wiebe, Robyn; Reimer, Christopher; Fedderson, Melissa; Dunn, Shannon; Johnson, Rob; McHugh, Natalie; Morrison, Heidi; Sullivan, Kelli; Cull, Ian; Abd-El-Aziz, Alaa
Subject Keywords Youth and Adult Partnerships;Community Based Participatory Action Research;Healthy Community Development;Health Promoting Universities;Young Adult Health;Setting Based Health Promotion;Healthy Eating
Issue Date: 2011
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2011-12-15
Citation: The International Journal of Health, Wellness & Society, 2011, vol. 1, no. 3, pages 155-176
Abstract: Abstract: Although young adults are generally healthy, they often engage in risky behaviours and establish lifestyle patterns that have costly immediate and long-term health impacts (e.g. poor nutrition, inactivity, substance misuse). Many young people attend colleges and universities making campuses an ideal setting for interventions. Setting based health promotion approaches have been used to improve health of populations and communities, including campus communities, however, creating change that is meaningful to students and also organizational leaders (non-students) has been difficult. In 2006 at a rapidly growing campus in Canada, a program of research was started to increase knowledge about healthy campus development. The VOICE Study uses community based participatory action research methods in combination with setting based health promotion strategies. Students and organizational leaders (non-students) work as co-researchers and project partners to identify priority health issues and create health promoting change (individual and community levels). While the idea of campus community members working together on health related issues is appealing to many, diverse views exist about the responsibility of post-secondary institutions to promote health; some prefer an individual responsibility or consumer model. An ecosystem model of health and community informs this study. Photographic, quantitative and qualitative research methods have been used according to questions of interest. Action groups have been formed around diverse topics, for example, drinking water, “real” food, natural environment, physical activity, transportation and student space. Results indicate that the process of creating change through use of a methodological framework combining action research, setting based health promotion and youth/adult partnerships, is highly effective. Diverse students (youth) and organizational leaders (adults must be full partners throughout the process. Patience, persistence and a sense of humor are basic requirements. The results appear to be transferable to other settings when the egalitarian values embedded in the methodological framework are explicit, and the community designs the specifics (e.g. issues, actions) to fit their context. Study processes, outcomes, challenges and successes are discussed, followed by a case study on campus food to illustrate more specifically the use of the methodological framework and results.
Affiliation: Nursing, School of (HSD) (Okanagan)
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/39751
Peer Review Status: Reviewed
Scholarly Level: Faculty

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