Progress in health promotion and preventive programme planning is limited by a lack of data on the development of current activities. A cross sectional survey of hospitals, community health centres, and other health agencies in New South Wales was therefore undertaken to determine the nature and extent of health promotion programmes being conducted in the period July to December 1983. A subsample of 1198 preventive programmes in child and family health was identified, making up 26% of all programmes operating in this period. Results indicate that three major types of programme are being conducted in child health. These are in the areas of (1) parent education and support, (2) school health education, including drug and alcohol education and personal development, and (3) child safety and first aid. Although the nature of these programmes generally corresponds with current thinking on what priorities in health promotion should be, results also indicate that evaluation of these programmes is limited. Most programmes assess only what participants think of the programme rather than assessing changes in knowledge, attitude, behaviour, or health status. Improvements in evaluation practice are required if preventive intervention programmes are to undertake seriously the task of altering the pattern of diseases and problems in childhood and adolescence.
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