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Improving child health promotion practices in multiple sectors: outcomes of the Swedish Salut Programme
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8944-2558
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8184-6360
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2012 (English)In: BMC Public Health, ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 12, no 1, 920- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: To improve health in the population, public health interventions must be successfully implemented within organisations, requiring behaviour change in health service providers as well as in the target population group. Such behavioural change is seldom easily achieved. The purpose of this study was to examine the outcomes of a child health promotion programme (The Salut Programme) on professionals' self-reported health promotion practices, and to investigate perceived facilitators and barriers for programme implementation.

Methods: A before-and-after design was used to measure programme outcomes, and qualitative data on implementation facilitators and barriers were collected on two occasions during the implementation process. The sample included professionals in antenatal care, child health care, dental services and open pre-schools (n=144 pre-implementation) in 13 out of 15 municipalities in a Swedish county. Response rates ranged between 81% and 96% at the four measurement points.

Results: Self-reported health promotion practices and collaboration were improved in all sectors at follow up. Significant changes included: 1) an increase in the extent to which midwives in antenatal care raised issues related to men's violence against women, 2) an increase in the extent to which several lifestyle topics were raised with parents/clients in child health care and dental services, 3) an increased use of motivational interviewing (MI) and separate 'fathers visits' in child health care 4) improvements in the supply of healthy snacks and beverages in open pre-schools and 5) increased collaboration between sectors. Main facilitators for programme implementation included cross-sectoral collaboration and sector-specific work manuals/questionnaires for use as support in everyday practice. Main barriers included high workload, and shortage of time and staff.

Conclusion: This multisectoral programme for health promotion, based on sector-specific intervention packages developed and tested by end users, and introduced via interactive multisectoral seminars, shows potential for improving health promotion practices and collaboration across sectors. Consideration of the key facilitators and barriers for programme implementation as highlighted in this study can inform future improvement efforts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2012. Vol. 12, no 1, 920- p.
Keyword [en]
antenatal care, change barriers, change facilitators, child health care, complex interventions, dental health services, health promotion, implementation, prevention, primary health care
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-60853DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-920ISI: 000314753300001PubMedID: 23107349OAI: diva2:563749
Available from: 2012-10-31 Created: 2012-10-31 Last updated: 2015-04-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Health promotion in pregnancy and early parenthood: the challenge of innovation, implementation and change within the Salut Programme
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Health promotion in pregnancy and early parenthood: the challenge of innovation, implementation and change within the Salut Programme
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: In 2005, the Västerbotten County Council launched a child health promotion programme, “the Salut Programme”, in response to an alarming prevalence of overweight and obesity, and trends of increased dental caries, among young county citizens. The programme, initially developed in four pilot areas, is built on multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration and aims to support and strengthen health promotion activities in health care, social services and school settings. It targets children and adolescents (0-18 years of age) and their parents, and starts during pregnancy. This thesis focuses on interventions provided by antenatal care, child health care, dental services, and open pre-schools, directed to expectant parents and families with children aged 0-1 ½ years. Within the programme context, the aim was to explore socio-demographic patterns of overweight and obesity in expectant parents (Paper I), firsttime parents’ experiences of health promotion and lifestyle change during pregnancy and early parenthood (Paper II), professionals’ experiences of factors influencing programme implementation and sustainability (Paper III and IV), and early programme outcomes on professionals’ health promotion practices and collaboration following countywide dissemination and implementation (Paper IV).


Methods and results: A population based cross-sectional study among expectant parents showed overweight and obesity in 29% of women (pre-pregnancy) and in 53% of men (n=4,352♀, 3,949♂). The likelihood for obesity was higher in expectant parents with lower levels of education, among those unemployed or on sick leave, and those living in rural areas. In 62% of couples, at least one of the partners was overweight or obese; a positive partner correlation was also found for BMI (I). An interview study with 24 first-time parents (n=12♀, 12♂) revealed that they primarily undertook lifestyle changes to secure the health of the fetus in pregnancy, and to provide a healthy environment in childhood. Parents described themselves as highly receptive to information about how their lifestyle could influence fetal health, and they frequently discussed pregnancy risks related to tobacco and alcohol, as well as toxins and infectious agents in foods. However, parents did not seem inclined to make lifestyle changes primarily to promote their own health. The antenatal and child health care services were perceived as being mainly directed towards women, and parents described a lack of a holistic view of the family which included experiences of fathers being treated as less important (II). An interview study undertaken with professionals (n=23) in the Salut Programme pilot areas indicated programme sustainability at most sites, two years after implementation, although less adherence was described within child health care. Factors influencing programme sustainability, as described by professionals, were identified at multiple organisational levels (III). A before-and-after survey among professionals (n=144) measured outcomes of the county-wide implementation of the Salut Programme in 13 out of 15 county municipalities. Results showed significant improvements in professionals’ health promotion practices and collaboration across sectors. A number of important implementation facilitators and barriers, acting at different organizational levels, were also identified via a survey comprised of open-ended questions (IV).


Conclusion: The Salut Programme, developed with high involvement of professionals, and strongly integrated in existing organisational structures and practices, shows potential for improving health promotion practices and cross-sectoral collaboration. The findings can inform further development of the Salut well as new health promotion initiatives, and inform policy practice and future research. These aspects include approaches in health promotion and prevention, father involvement during pregnancy and early parenthood, and factors influencing implementation and sustainability of cross-sectoral health promotion programmes.

Abstract [sv]

Bakgrund: År 2005 lanserade Västerbottens läns landsting en hälsofrämjande satsning “Salut” som svar på en oroande förekomst av övervikt och fetma samt trender till ökad förekomst av karies hos barn i länet. Satsningen, som initialt utvecklades i fyra pilotområden, bygger på tvärprofessionellt och verksamhetsövergripande samarbete och syftar till att stödja och stärka hälsofrämjande insatser inom landstinget och länets kommuner. Satsningen riktar sig till barn och unga (0-18 år) och deras föräldrar, med start under graviditeten. Denna avhandling fokuserar på insatser som erbjuds via mödrahälsovård, barnhälsovård, tandvård och öppen förskola riktade till blivande föräldrar och familjer med barn i åldern 0-1 ½ år. Med utgångspunkt från Salut-satsningen syftar avhandlingen till att undersöka socio-demografiska mönster av övervikt och fetma hos blivande föräldrar (I), förstagångsföräldrars upplevelser av hälsofrämjande insatser och förändrade levnadsvanor under graviditet och tidigt föräldraskap (II), personalens upplevelser av underlättande och hindrande faktorer för satsningens införande och uthållighet (III, IV), samt förändringar i arbetssätt och samarbete mellan verksamheterna efter den länstäckande spridningen av satsningen (IV).


Metod och resultat: En populationsbaserad tvärsnittsstudie bland blivande föräldrar visade på övervikt och fetma hos 29% av kvinnorna (vikt före graviditet) och hos 53% av männen (n=4352♀, 3949♂). Lägre utbildningsnivå, arbetslöshet och sjukskrivning samt att bo utanför städerna visade sig öka sannolikheten för fetma. Hos en övervägande del av paren (62%) fanns minst en partner med övervikt eller fetma och samband kunde även påvisas mellan kvinnans och mannens BMI (I). En intervjustudie med 24 förstagångsföräldrar (n=12♀, 12♂) visade att föräldrarna främst förändrade sina levnadsvanor för att säkra hälsan hos fostret under graviditeten och för att skapa en hälsosam miljö för barnet under uppväxten. Föräldrarna beskrev sig själva som mycket mottagliga för information om hur deras levnadsvanor kunde påverka fostrets hälsa och de diskuterade ofta graviditetsrisker i relation till tobak och alkohol samt gifter och smittoämnen i livsmedel. Föräldrarna var dock mindre angelägna att förändra sina levnadsvanor med tanke på sin egen hälsa. De upplevde att mödrahälsovårdens och barnhälsovårdens insatser i huvudsak riktades till kvinnor och beskrev en avsaknad av helhetssyn på familjen, vilket även avspeglades i upplevelser av att papporna behandlades som mindre viktiga (II). En intervjustudie med personal (n=23) inom pilotområdena, två år efter utveckling och införandet av Saluts insatser, indikerade god uthållighet av satsningen, även om en lägre följsamhet till insatserna beskrevs inom barnhälsovården. Faktorer som av personalen beskrevs påverka uthålligheten identifierades på flera organisatoriska nivåer (III). En före- och efterstudie bland personal (n=144) mätte effekter av den länstäckande spridningen av satsningen i 13 av länets 15 kommuner. Resultaten visade på flera signifikanta förbättringar av de hälsofrämjande arbetssätten och ett ökat samarbete mellan verksamheterna. En enkät med öppna frågor riktad till personalen belyste också faktorer på flera organisationsnivåer som ansågs underlätta respektive hindra införandeprocessen (IV).


Slutsats: Salut-satsningen, som är utvecklad i nära samarbete med verksamheternas personal och väl integrerad i redan existerande organisatoriska strukturer och arbetssätt, visar på potential att förbättra hälsofrämjande arbetssätt och samarbete mellan verksamheter. Aspekter som beskrivits och diskuterats kan vägleda satsningens fortsatta utveckling såväl som framtida nya initiativ. Resultaten och slutsatserna kan även användas i syfte att påverka policy, praxis och framtida forskning. Detta avser framförallt hälsofrämjande och sjukdomsförebyggande metoder, pappans roll under graviditet och tidigt föräldraskap samt kunskaper om faktorer som kan ha betydelse för genomförande och uthållighet av verksamhetsövergripande hälsofrämjande insatser.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2013. 94 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1570
Antenatal care, Child health care, Counselling, Dental health services, Dissemination, Health Promotion, Implementation, Intervention, Parents, Pregnancy, Prevention, Obesity, Overweight, Pre-­school, Primary Health Care, Sustainability
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public health; Epidemiology
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-70172 (URN)978-­91-­7459-­641-­0 (PDF) (ISBN)978-91-7459-640-3 (Print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-05-31, Betula, byggnad 6 M, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2013-05-08 Created: 2013-05-06 Last updated: 2015-04-29Bibliographically approved

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