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Parkour as Health Promotion in Schools: A Qualitative Study on Health Identity


Grabowski, D. & Thomsen, S.D.



World Journal of Education

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In the present paper, we highlight the potential role of parkour in school-based health promotion. In a school setting, it is often difficult to promote health and healthy behaviour in ways that make sense and appeal to pupils. Research suggests that initiatives incorporating a focus on identity and on presenting health in new and different ways are more likely to succeed in generating engagement, participation and involvement and thereby to affect learning outcomes and behaviour change. In the present paper, we explore and discuss parkour as just such a new and different approach. We do this using an empirically and theoretically tested concept of health identity as our main theoretical and analytical component. We present our findings in three main themes: 1) Changed self-images provide opportunities for social inclusion, 2) New observations of others force pupils to reconsider roles and hierarchies and 3) Togetherness and non-competitiveness generate a sense of belonging. The paper provides teachers and school health practitioners with important knowledge about why they may wish to incorporate parkour into school health promotion and equally important knowledge about how a focus on health identity is essential if they are to ensure conditions that facilitate significant health-promoting effects for all pupils--not just for those who are already healthy.


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