The purpose of this paper is to report the outcome of a city‐wide survey of teenagers’ views on their health, and compare this with the outcomes of a science‐oriented health intervention called LifeLab, a hospital‐based classroom aimed at developing teenagers’ attitudes towards their health and that of their future children.
A questionnaire survey of 597 14‐year olds across the city of Southampton was conducted to gauge their views and behaviour in relation to their own health. The views of 37 students who took part in innovative, hospital‐based, hands‐on LifeLab activities were compared with those of their peers six months after the intervention to analyse long‐term impacts of the experience. Interviews were carried out with ten LifeLab students to gain further insights.
The intervention created a wider appreciation among students that food they eat now could affect their long‐term health and the health of their future children. Students became significantly more interested in studying science beyond compulsory schooling, and in considering science and healthcare career options.
Although results were statistically significant, the intervention sample was quite small, and further data collection is ongoing. The city‐wide student response rate of 29 per cent was fairly low.
This study has shown that a carefully structured hospital‐based classroom visit, and associated science lessons can have a marked effect on student engagement with health‐related issues, and an impact on their consideration of their career choices.
The hospital‐based classroom is an innovative approach to improving teenagers’ knowledge and attitudes towards their health. The paper's findings should be of interest to a range of educational stakeholders including teachers, local education authorities and local politicians concerned with health education matters.
Grace, M., Woods‐Townsend, K., Griffiths, J., Godfrey, K., Hanson, M., Galloway, I., Azaola, M., Harman, K., Byrne, J. and Inskip, H. (2012), "Developing teenagers’ views on their health and the health of their future children", Health Education, Vol. 112 No. 6, pp. 543-559. https://doi.org/10.1108/09654281211275890Download as .RIS
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