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Health lifestyles of pre-school children in Nordic countries: parents' perspectives

12 Nov 2013


Summary

Holistic understanding of health is one of the key principles of health promotion indicating that the health status of individuals and populations is determined by a variety of environmental, economic, social and personal factors. Traditionally, research focus has been on school-aged children and school-based interventions and less on pre-school children and their families' engagement in promoting health in everyday life. The aim of the present study was to explore factors that parents of pre-school children in the Nordic countries experienced as influencing health lifestyles in their children's everyday lives. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 parents of pre-school children in the five Nordic countries. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the data. The parents identified themselves as the primary shapers of their children's lifestyles and described influencing factors related to themselves as well as to their immediate surroundings and the larger society. Attaining a health lifestyle in everyday life of Nordic parents with pre-school children appeared to be all about the ‘management of time when attempting to live up to expectations’. Pre-school children's lifestyles are to a great extent intertwined with their parent's lifestyles and should be approached, both in research and practice, accordingly. Parents of pre-school children in the Nordic countries appear to be living their everyday lives straining to adapt to norms prevailing in society and may need encouragement and support in managing time in order to promote health lifestyles for themselves and their children.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Health Promotion International