The Western Australian School Health Project: Evaluation of participant change
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The Western Australian School Health (WASH) project operated over a 4-year period (1992-95), providing a year-long programme of training and support to successive groups of schools, so as to enable 'in house' development of suitable health promotion programmes. Impact evaluation was undertaken in the last 3 years of the project and this paper reports health promotion knowledge, attitude and behaviour change in full-term primary participants from all 3 years. The group comprised 91 teachers and 47 non-teachers who met certain participation criteria. Numerical data were analysed using paired t-tests. Categorical/rank data were analysed using the paired Wilcoxon Signed Rank test. Teacher participants demonstrated significant improvement in classroom health teaching knowledge (p<0.0001), time spent teaching health (p=0.026), use of health education teaching methodologies (p=0.0367), school health promotion knowledge (p<0.0001), and number of health promotion activities undertaken (p=0. 0043). Non-teacher participants demonstrated significant improvement on school health promotion knowledge (p<0.0001), rated level of health promotion activity (p<0.0001), and number of health promotion activities undertaken (p=0.0011). As a result of WASH project involvement there has been the creation of greater capacity among individual participants to promote health. It is important to recognise that this capacity will continue to potentiate health promotion in schools, even though WASH as a discrete project has finished.
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