Work Package 4: Healthy lifestyles and Well-being of Children and Youth with Migrant Background – University of Copenhagen

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Work Package 4

Healthy lifestyles and Well-being of Children and Youth with Migrant Background

Work Package 4 was headed by Senior Researcher Kathrine Vitus

Other staff: Mette Kirstine Tørslev and Marie Nørredam.

WP4 consisted of two interrelated studies: A qualitative study of well-being and healthy lifestyles of upper-secondary school youth; a mixed qualitative and quantitative study on well-being and healthy lifestyles of primary school children in two 6th grade classes and one 7th grade class. Both schools had a large proportion of students with migrant background.

The schools were characterized as ‘sports' schools and included health perspectives in various activities. This gave opportunity to explore how children and youth in various settings (including the family setting) are positioned and position themselves in regard to body, well-being, health and sport.

Explorative qualitative methods (participant observation, individual and focus group interviews, activity and dietary dairies, video taking by the children) was used to engage the children/youth in the process of data collection to study how health and healthy lifestyle was understood and (re)produced by children and youth, and to explore comparatively how these understandings was embodied in practice among children/youth with different ethnic backgrounds.

Methodology was developed jointly and adapted to differing ages in the two studies. The variety of methods enabled identification of verbal as well as non-verbal interaction, practices and understandings. The quantitative data was based on a SFI longitudinal survey on ethnic minority children and registry data from Statistics Denmark. The survey data supported the contextualization of the qualitative data, by drawing a broader picture of health patterns and practices since birth of the children.

'Children’s perceptions of own health and well-being in a Danish Primary School – does ethnicity matter?'. The paper was presented at the EUPHA's 5th European Conference on Migrant and Ethnic Minority Health Conference, Granada, Spain, 10-12 April 2014.  

'Pleasant eating: Children’s embodied eating experiences at school'. The paper was presented at the Food, Children and Youth: What’s Eating? Conference, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal, 21-22 February 2014.