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Karen Wistoft

Health strategies and reservoirs of knowledge among adolescents in Denmark

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  • Miljø- og sundhedspædagogik
  • Department of Education
This article presents selected results of qualitative research into perceptions of health among adolescents. Pupils (N = 108) in the age 13-15 years from nine schools in four different municipalities in Denmark have been interviewed. An analytic strategy that combines knowledge research with systems theory is developed and used for the empirical analyses. The conclusions are focused on health-identities and health-strategies. Young people live their lives 'here and now', and it is hard for them to imagine how damaging the consequences of not taking risk-factors seriously can be. They cannot really relate to the diseases, and it is therefore difficult for them to actively affect the different determinants. The adolescents feel that a lot of information and teaching is being directed towards them. They face an abundance of communication about health and information directed at their presumed risk-behaviour. They often experience saturation and lose both interest and focus. They reject patronizing or negative knowledge and generally express a desire to know more about the things that make life fun and positive. They feel that the knowledge directed at them must be more concrete and personally relevant for them. Finally, the adolescents are aware that they are influenced by their friends both positively and negatively. Indeed, they are concerned about the way they are being taught about health in school and desirous to learn more. (Global Health Promotion, 2010; 17(2): pp. 16-24)
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Health Promotion
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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