Inactivity and an unhealthy diet amongst others have led to an increased prevalence of overweight and obesity even in young children. Since most health behaviours develop during childhood health promotion has to start early.
The multi-component health promotion programme Join the Healthy Boat developed for children aged 0-10 years aims at
· increasing everyday physical activity
· active leisure times with a reduction of screen media use
· higher consumption of fruits and vegetables as well as and a decreased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages
· conscious relaxation and mindfulness
Join the Healthy Boat pursues the goals and contents of the current curriculum for primary schools and kindergartens. Children gain competencies concerning their health behaviours and are encouraged to make healthier choices.
Intervention planning for health promotion programmes should be scientifically sound and based on a theoretical model as well as its implementation and evaluation should always be guided by a planning model. Join the Healthy Boat was developed by means of Bartholomew’s Intervention Mapping Approach (Bartholomew et al., 2006). Additionally, the social-cognitive theory by Bandura (Bandura, 2001) and Bronfenbrenner’s ecological framework for human development (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) were chosen.
implementation and Materials
To ensure sustainability and long-term implementation into the nursery, kindergarten, and school routine, the programme applies a teacher-centred approach, which enables the implementation of profound health promoting changes in nursery, kindergarten, and school environments and the support of children’s behaviour change continuously.
The programme offers lecture material (in German) developed by an interdisciplinary team of scientists at Ulm University and an educational advisory board made up of experienced primary school teachers and educators. It is designed to be implemented directly during school lessons and break times as well as in the daily routine of nurseries and kindergartens.
Join the Healthy Boat was evaluated via the so-called “Health Survey” (kindergarten) and “Baden-Württemberg Study” (primary school). Both were designed as a prospective, stratified, cluster-randomised longitudinal trial with an intervention and a control group. Participating schools and kindergartens were recruited from all schools and kindergartens in South-West Germany on a voluntary basis.
Intervention effects of Join the Healthy Boat were assessed on three different levels: children, parents, and (kindergarten) teachers.