A better comprehensive understanding of critical periods in life, during which people are at higher risk for unfavorable changes in health and health-related behaviors, may facilitate the development of more effective health-oriented intervention programs. Although the transition from secondary to higher education has been associated with, for example, body weight gain, decreased physical activity and mental difficulties, evidence on emerging adults making the immediate transition from vocational secondary education into the labor market is very scarce.
The aim of this study is to investigate changes in both physical and mental health as well as in associated health-related behaviors in emerging adults making the transition from vocational secondary education into employment. In addition, a qualitative study using focus group discussions will be used to identify determinants of changes in health-related behaviors and to share ideas concerning the possible development of effective and feasible intervention strategies to promote healthy behavior. Using principles of participatory research will be the generic approach taken during the present project.
Fundamental research into this topic, with an increased attention for this vulnerable population, is absolutely necessary in pursuit of greater equality in health with a view to the next generation(s).