Fit Lifestyle At School and and Home

FLASH stands for Fit Lifestyle at School and at Home. It is a research project that evaluates a community-based design when implementing a whole school approach towards stimulating health behaviors among adolescents. FLASH is specifically aimed at healthy physical activity and dietary behaviors in pre-vocational schools and takes place in four schools in the North-East of the Netherlands.

What is a community based design?

In FLASH students, school personnel and parents co-create a healthy school community by building on their community capacity. This refers to their potential to identify, mobilize and address social and public health problems. Building community capacity includes development of motivation, capabilities and opportunities. By letting the community take the lead in designing, implementing and evaluating health promotion efforts, it is possible to create an approach that is tailored to the communities’ needs and is supported by all community members.

Why do we need this?

The Netherlands works at health promotion in schools through a system of vignettes schools can earn, but experience difficulty with operationalization.
The main issue for this is related to the difficulty of getting different stakeholders involved:

  • Parents and school have different perceptions of responsibilities
  • Parents and teachers express low self-efficacy for health promotion
  • The topic has low priority with limited recources
  • Schools find it difficult to adapt the general system to their context

A community-based design puts collaboration central to address these issues

What makes FLASH unique?

FLASH has several components that are unique:

  • A healthy school coordinator: an employee of the school financed to facilitate FLASH
  • Two experts in education and health promotion to assist the coordinator
  • A needs-assessment focused on what the community is good at and where it want to go
  • Unique activities in each school based on their context