Fakultät für Gesundheitswissenschaften
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What is prevention?

Prevention comprises all health concerning activities which may be appropriate to avoid future dissemination of specific diseases by systematic prophylaxis. Prevention sets in when precursors or early stages of health impairment are identifiable and the corresponding risk factors are supposed to be reduced or eliminated. One example may be the withdrawal of nicotine in early stages of cardiovascular diseases. Risk analysis approaches may help to identify impairing expositions and to diminish them by environmental prevention.

What is health promotion?
Health promotion is directed to empower people to increase their health and to improve at the same time their life and working environment. Examples may be health education, sports and activity programmes and organizational development in schools and companies to better occupational conditions.
Our group uses theoretical approaches of psychology, sociology, education sciences and socio-medicine. We consider on the one hand components of behaviour and on the other hand the life circumstance of the concerned persons. The individual coping strategies, the resources of social support (e.g. informal and formal networks) and the life and working conditions (including environmental conditions) are pivotal factors for health maintenance, disease onset and the course of diseases.
These questions have to be examined by including the whole course of a life time and especially by considering gender-specific attributes. Hence, we use interdisciplinary theories and empiricism for analysing risk factors and protecting factors

Health Education and Health behaviour
People with a higher degree of education live longer than others: they eat healthier and they pay more attention on physical movement and relaxation. More and more chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and drug addiction and partly even cancer are more common in population subgroups with lower socio-economic status. Our group investigates these associations over the whole life-span but our focus is the childhood and adolescence. How can we prevent the negative consequences of adverse living conditions by specific interventions in families, kindergartens, schools or youth clubs? In cooperation with such institutions we develop, test and control programmes for relaxation, physical movement and exercise and nutrition as well as programmes for stress, obesity, violence and drug prevention.

WHO Collaborating Centre for Child and Adolescent Health Promotion
The international comparison of the health situation of adolescents is the main focus of the faculty's WHO Collaborating Centre. In spring 2003 the faculty has again obtained a work assignment for further four years under the direction Prof. Dr. Klaus Hurrelmann.
One task of the WHO is the promotion and realisation of research in health science. To fulfil this obligation the WHO requires external support. Thus, a worldwide network of collaboration centres was built. To become a collaboration centre applying institutions have to undergo an extensive evaluation and selection process in which the scientific reputation, the previous collaboration with the WHO and other experiences in international cooperation will be considered. At present, Germany holds circa 40 Collaborating Centres (CC) with different fields of activity.
One main task of the WHO Collaborating Centre in Bielefeld in the performing and analysis of the international "Health Behaviour in School-aged Children" (HBSC) survey for Germany which is supported from the WHO. Since 1982 the study has been conducted in an increasing number of countries every four years. are Children and adolescents aged 11-15 years form a representative sample of schools represent the target group. For Germany the Bielefeld Collaborating Centre participates since 1994.

Selected Research topics:
  • Association of socialization and health promotion
  • Determinants of health impacts during the whole life-span
  • Gender specific and circumstance specific approaches of health promotion.
  • Association of socialization and health promotion
  • Determinants of health impacts during the whole life-span
  • Gender specific and circumstance specific approaches of health promotion