Development of a collaborative model to improve school health promotion in the Netherlands

M. Leurs*, H.P. Schaalma, M.W.J. Jansen, I.M. Mur-Veeman, L. St. Leger, N. de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In recent decades, school health promotion programs have been developing into whole-school health approaches. This has been accompanied by a greater understanding among health promoters of the core-business of schools, namely education, and how health promotion objectives can be integrated into this task. Evidence of the positive impact of school health promotion on health risk behavior of students is increasing. This article focuses on the processes and initial results of developing a collaborative model tailored for whole-school health in the Netherlands, named schoolBeat. The Dutch situation is characterized by fragmentation, a variety of health and welfare groups supporting schools, and a lack of sound integrated youth policies. A literature review, observations, and stakeholder consultation provided a clear picture of the current situation in school health promotion, and factors limiting a comprehensive and needs-based approach to school health. This revealed that a health promotion team within a school is fundamental to an effective approach to tailored school health promotion. A respected member of school staff should chair this team. To strengthen the link with the school care team, the school care coordinator should be a member of both teams. To provide coordinated support to all schools in a region, participating organizations decided to share advisory tasks. These tasks are included in the regular health promotion work of their staff. This means working with one advisor representing all school-health organizations per school, and using a comprehensive overview of possible support and projects promoting health. Empowering schools in needs assessments and comprehensive school health promotion is an important element of the developed approach. This article concludes with an examination of emerging issues in evaluating collaborative school health support during the first 18 months of development, and implementation and future perspectives regarding sustainable collaboration and quality improvement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-305
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

Cite this