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Squared hyvinvoiva koulu
Finland
Healthy choices at school

Your Choice

Marker Helsinki, Suomi
Junior high school students innovate and implement various lifestyle changes in their schools focusing on exercise and nutrition. The model is based on student-participation to create common goals and commitment.
Introduction

What is it all about?

“In a healthy and safe school every student takes part in the decision making process.”

- Henri Karjula, project manager of Your Choice

Most junior high schoolers (13–16-year-olds) do not meet the recommendations for daily physical activity. This raises their risk of various different health problems. It also tends to be harder to inspire change in junior high school students than in younger kids. The ultimate goal for Your Choice is to create healthier junior high schools that focus on nutrition and exercise.

The premise for this innovation is that in a healthy and safe school every student is involved in the decision making process. After all, young people are the real experts of their own lives. Your Choice encourages young people to plan and lead different activities inspiring lifestyle changes. When students can take part in the decision making process, schools become happier and healthier.

Your Choice activities provide young people with a set of tools to help them make healthy choices in their everyday lives. This includes the ability to reflect on one's personal choices. Particularly children at risk of health problems benefit because they will be able to make better lifestyle choices but also find the value in their new lifestyle. Physical fitness is also connected to higher achievement – wellbeing leads to motivated students who learn better.

While the focus of Your Choice is on improving physical activity and school lunches, it may be implemented in various ways. Schools that have embraced Your Choice have increased action-based learning methods, opened up their gyms during recess and introduced daily extended recesses. Some schools introduced standing desks and exercise breaks to reduce sitting. Students have started school lunch teams, revamped their school concession stand’s selections and spruced up their cafeteria. Schools have also organized theme days around physical activities and acquired exercise equipment to be used outside as well as in class.

Your Choice is an initiative by Youth Academy. It has reached thousands of teachers and students around Finland. Many schools across Finland have successfully adopted the model including in Vantaa, Jämsä and Orimattila.

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Intended Outcomes
200
Views
13 - 18
Age Group
2015
Established
Resources Needed
HundrED Criteria
innovativeness
impact
scalability
Your Choice combines student participation with healthy lifestyle choices.
Health conditions due to lifestyle, such as obesity, are on the rise – this innovation combats them and installs healthy lasting attitudes and routines.
Students will be in charge of planning the project which will allow for the innovation to be adapted to various different settings.
Posts

See this innovation in action.


Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
The First month: Assess the situation and organize a brainstor...
These nine steps are a model for a plan for the school year. They help you make healthy lifestyle choices a part of every school day. The timeframe introduced in this plan is a suggestion that may be modified to fit your school, even in a shorter period.
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02
The Second month: Analyze the results and survey the students
Analyze the previous assessment
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03
The Third month: Working together
If possible, collaborate with your local high school. Older students may be involved in the project by getting the junior high school students moving.
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04
The Fourth month: Nutrition
During this month students, teachers and cafeteria workers get together to improve school lunches. These changes may involve the cafeteria, its atmosphere as well as the menu and snacks provided.
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05
The Fifth month: Halfway checkpoint
Reflect on the year pinpointing your success stories and where there is room to improve. Write down your observations and continue on with the successful methods.
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06
The Sixth month: Active recess
Everyone's good at something, so it's a good idea to let young people present their own talent and maybe get others excited about that sport.
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Contact

Connect with the innovator

Heidi Rosback
Innovator
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