Health care professionals’ perceptions of health promotion with preschool children

Ulla Forinder, Karen Daniels, Marina Clarke, Karin C Ringsberg


Background: The growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) all over the world calls for a change in peoples’ lifestyles. One way to prevent NCDs is to work with health promotion. The burden of communicable diseases (CDs), however, is still high and resources are limited. Studies suggest that promotion of health should start early in life and in cooperation between preschool teachers and parents. Also health care workers should be included in such work. The aim of the present study was to explore health care professionals’ experiences and their reflections on health promotion in relation to children’s health in two different Western Cape settings, South Africa.

Methods: Data was collected in two focus group discussions (FGDs) with twelve health care professionals from health clinics situated in two different settings; one upper-middle income urban suburb and one peri-urban township. Data was analysed with latent content analysis.

Results: The findings are presented in four categories and twelve subcategories. The focus group (FG) participants had a holistic view on health and they talked about children’s health from a health promotion perspective where they saw children’s health as affected by an interplay between family, societal and structural factors. Further they saw several possibilities and expressed ideas about how to work from a health promotion perspective. They had a positive attitude to working intersectorally and interdisciplinary and believed that they could contribute to such a work. However, the cooperation with doctors and social service must be improved in order to succeed.

Conclusions: The organizers of the health care sector should see to that health professionals have the possibility to work according to health promotion principles. Also the health care workers themselves must engage more actively in the work by considering the attitudes of the staff, the parents and grandparents and develop cultural awareness and sensibility.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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