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ASEAN Journal of Community Engagement

Article Title

Health education projects in Portuguese schools: A multicases study

Abstract

Health education project (HEP) has incorporated all the educational projects of the Portuguese elementary and secondary schools in order to respond to four key areas: mental health and violence prevention; food education and physical activity; addictive behaviours and dependencies; affections and education for sexuality. This study aimed at identifying the effects of HEP perceived by teachers and students. A multi-case study was developed in five schools in the municipality of Castelo Branco, Portugal. The sample consisted of a HEP coordinating teacher and one student from each case. The content analysis of each HEP was performed and semi-structured interviews were also developed with the participants. The analysis of the information showed that the HEP induce positive changes in the lifestyle of the educational community, especially in students. Despite this positive view, areas that could be the target for an optimization process were diagnosed, in each of the four dimensions of the HEP under study, so that the different projects can qualitatively improve their performance among the target audience. The investigation allowed the verification that there is a lack of instruments and methodologies able to record the behavioral changes developed within the scope of HE, while simultaneously stimulating the reflection on these behavioural changes and their causes.

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