Bone Education Resource Center International Osteoporosis Foundation
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Iceland

Name of education programme
Hollusta Styrhir Bein – A Healthy Lifestyle Makes Bones Stronger

Originating organisation
Beinvernd (Icelandic Osteoporosis Society)

Contact
Halldora Björnsdottir
Beinvernd (Icelandic Osteoporosis Society)
Postbox 161
270 Mosfellsbaer

Tel:+354 897 3119
Fax:+354 510 1919
E-mail:  halldora@beinvernd.is

Description of the programme
The educational programme originally conceived by Beinvernd (the Icelandic Osteoporosis Society) for World Osteoporosis Day 2000 has now been adapted for a school subject called Life Skills, a mandatory part of the curriculum in Iceland. The educational material on the Life Skills curriculum is called I AM WHAT I CHOOSE and its philosophy is to help students choose a lifestyle based on knowledge. It includes a section about bone health in grades 4, 6 and 9. The bone-health related part of this programme has been translated into English – see Grades 1-4, Grade 6, Grade 9 (PDF, 400-813 KB)

How did Beinvernd initiate the programme? Physical education teachers were contacted in 2000 and asked to give out information explaining the importance of investing in bone mass at an early age by exercising and eating healthily. All students born in 1987 received the leaflet on osteoporosis and lifestyle and filled in a questionnaire. A special activity day was held in some schools, with walking, running or outdoor games organised, emphasising the importance of developing strong bones.

The scavenger-hunt game

In addition to the educational programme material, all elementary schools (i.e. grades 1-10) received a scavenger-hunt game (i.e. a map with material to play the game) for World Osteoporosis Day 2001. The game is based on 15 questions about bones and related material and the students have to run between stations, answer the questions, find the magic words and draw a skeleton. This game will be played in physical education classes during the week after WOD 2001 on October 22-26. The idea is that students in grade 4 and 6 play the game every year as an annual event.

The dairy industry has sponsored the publications which back-up these lesson plans.

Is the programme still running?
Yes

Target audience
Boys and girls aged 9 (grade 4)
Boys and girls aged 11 (grade 6)
Boys and girls aged 14 (grade 9)

Has the programme been approved by your scientific advisory committee?
Yes

What worked well
The message 'Invest in Your Bones' reached all students born in 1987 in Iceland, and their families. As a result of its success, bone health is now a part of the educational material of the mandatory school subject called Life Skills.

What didn't work well
Not all schools spent much time on the programme and the benefits of the project need to be more strongly projected and disseminated, for example to the wider body of teachers and school nurses. This year all physical education teachers will be sent a questionnaire to answer about their participation in the WOD programme. A survey will be made to get information about the use of the educational material I AM WHAT I CHOOSE.

Type of information and material available
Questionnaire
Posters
Leaflets
The scavenger-hunt game (Ratleikur Beinverndar)
Press releases
Internet site (www.beinvernd.is)
Other: lesson plans (in preparation), educational meetings

Are you willing to provide material and advice to other IOF members?
Yes

Languages in which the material is available
Icelandic and English i.e. the I AM WHAT I CHOOSE is available from the Beinvernd website in English

Budget
US$30,000

Corporate sponsors
The dairy industry

Other partners
Informally with the education system at present, but it is hoped that the relationship will be made more formal in the coming year.

Did the programme use celebrities, role models or mentors?
No, but the dairy industry's health adverts promoting the importance of calcium, are beneficial to the programme.

Is the programme suitable for other countries?
Yes, possibly particularly suited to small countries.

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