Lessons for Life: Innovating and Evaluating School Age Health Education Interventions for the Prevention and Control of NCDs
This research collaboration focuses on developing and evaluating health education for NCD prevention in teenagers across the world. It aims to bring together international researchers and practitioners to create a step-change in innovative approaches to developing adolescents' knowledge, attitudes and behaviour with regard to their own health and that of their future children. The collaboration will mark the beginning of a long-term sustainable relationship between the partners working to refine the design of innovative health-related teaching materials and activities, and to evaulate these by developing effective assessment instruments.
There is a lack of research relating to the effective design and evaluation of teaching programs about NCDs for adolescents. Some innovative activities have already been piloted by LENScience in Auckland and LifeLab in Southampton, such as students analyzing their DNA, using ultrasound to look at their own arteries, examining skeletons, assessing their own diets, measuring blood pressure, looking at genes using gel electrophoresis, and studying how nutrients cross the placenta. Activities still being developed include providing students with the opportunity to discuss health-related issues using a structured decision-making framework, and the opportunity to meet health professionals and discuss aspects of their work. All the activities and associated teaching materials now need refinement and linking together to create an internationally accessible teaching package. Particular attention will be paid to:
- increasing access to health education among teenagers across a range of abilities, socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures;
- developing professional development training for teachers, which is directly aimed at supporting the students’ health training program;
- the design of realistic methods of evaluating the impact that the learning activities have on the participating students.