The meaning of health in rural children: a mixed methods approach
Bilinski, H.N.; Duggleby, W.; Rennie, D.
Western Journal of Nursing Research 32(7): 949-966
ISSN/ISBN: 1552-8456 PMID: 20634401 DOI: 10.1177/0193945910371318
Gaining an understanding of the meaning of health in children may provide insight into factors that contribute to effective programs aimed at preventing diseases such as childhood obesity. A mixed methods design was used to explore the meaning of health of rural Saskatchewan children. A health questionnaire and Body Mass Index scores were collected from 99 children (Grades 1 to 7). A focused ethnographic approach was used to explore the meaning of health in a subset of 20 children (9 to 12 years old). Regardless of weight status, children described their meaning of health as Knowing Stuff, Having a Working Body, and Feeling Happy and suggested that Feeling Happy was most meaningful. The rural environment appeared to provide a sense of safety, security, and freedom. The researcher discovered the value children placed on the psychosocial dimension of health and provided insights into aspects that may foster healthy behaviors in this population.