Swedish health equality project highlights impact of citizen involvement

The project is summarised by an article, Understanding behavioural changes through community-based participatory research to promote oral health in socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Southern Sweden. It is written by researchers at Malmö University in collaboration with Anna Nilvéus Olofsson, Manager Odontology and Scientific Affairs, TePe, who was representing the private sector.

Anna Nilvéus Olofsson said, ’The study shows the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach in finding new ways of reaching out to individuals in these areas.’

In Sweden, inequalities in oral health exist among subgroups living in socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods. In this project, families with children aged 7–14 years from such an area were invited to take part in several health-promotional activities over six months, together with representatives from public and private organisations and professionals such as dieticians and dentists. The topics, selected by the participants, were related to diet, oral hygiene and fluoride. The mothers who participated also initiated gatherings with other women to share their knowledge and experiences.

The results show that reflection and dialogue between citizens of the community and other stakeholders can have the potential to influence behavioural change and may empower individuals to become ambassadors for a healthy lifestyle.

TePe aims to bring healthy smiles for life by inspiring good oral health. More information on TePe’s educational activities is available at tepeshare.com.

Photo: Lindängen Centrum, by Jorchr - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13303300

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