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Operative Links: Combining perspectives in municipal strategies aimed at children's and adolescents' health

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  • Karen Wistoft
  • Holger Højlund, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
  • Department of Education

The article combines a public management perspective with a pedagogical perspective on health promotion. Our aim is to look into recent reforms in Denmark on health promotion in order to see how managerial ideas have been combined with welfare professional ideals concerning broad, positive and participatory health interventions. The Danish experience is particularly interesting as Denmark has witnessed quite extensive reforms during the last five years; a municipal reform and a health reform have both given priority to the local level. The municipalities have received increased political attention and have been the object of great expectations concerning the ability to incorporate health concerns into every welfare area through health promotion strategies. The paper draws on results and analyses of a collective research project funded by the Danish National Research Council and carried out by researchers from Copenhagen Business School and The Danish School of Education (1.9.2007 -31.12.2009). The data have been obtained in four separate empirical studies on the basis of a mixed qualitative design including a survey, personal and focus group interviews and comparative case studies. The theoretical framework has three positions: first, a policy perspective on public organisations as networks, second, a semantic perspective on discourses and concepts of health and, third, a health pedagogical perspective on participation, intervention, and roles. Conclusion: it is necessary to establish ‘operative links' that indicate cooperative levels which facilitate a creative and innovative effort in disease prevention and health promotion targeted at children and adolescents - across traditional professional boundaries. It is proposed that such links are supported by network structures, shared semantics and situated pedagogical means of intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Book seriesScandinavian Journal of Public Health. Supplement
Pages (from-to)348-354
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

    Research areas

  • Public health management, Helalth pedagogical intervention, Health promotion, Children and adolescents, Prevention, Concepts of health, Network

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