The purpose of this paper is to investigate perceptions of second grade lower vocational students concerning benefits, barriers and strategies of healthy eating and physical activity.
Focus group discussions are conducted with 37 adolescents, from three schools in The Netherlands. A semi‐structured questioning‐scheme is used. Recorded data are transcribed, analysed using Atlas.ti and arranged in the EnRG‐framework.
Adolescents find health and a healthy weight important and like having a choice when it comes to health behaviour. The choices they make, however, are often unhealthy, especially when related to food. The risk perception of these adolescents is low; as long as they feel healthy, they feel no need to change their behaviour. Parents are held responsible for providing opportunities for healthy behaviour. At the same time, parental influence lessens and adolescents start to develop unhealthy habits, usually under the influence of a peer group. Adolescents accept the interference of school, meaning that there are good opportunities for school‐based interventions.
The number (37) of respondents may not be representative for the different personalities of peer‐students.
Adolescents need to take on greater responsibility for their own health behaviour, especially in the school setting where they are more autonomous than at home. More information is needed about the perceptions of parents and school staff regarding stimulating healthy dietary and physical behaviour to develop, implement and preserve integral school health interventions successfully.
The paper provides information on adolescents' perceptions on their responsibility for their health behaviour, which is needed to develop school‐based health intervention consistent with their needs.
Ridder, M.A.M., Heuvelmans, M.A., Visscher, T.L.S., Seidell, J.C. and Renders, C.M. (2010), "We are healthy so we can behave unhealthily: A qualitative study of the health behaviour of Dutch lower vocational students", Health Education, Vol. 110 No. 1, pp. 30-42. https://doi.org/10.1108/09654281011008735Download as .RIS
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