Piecing the puzzle together: case studies of international research in health-promoting sports clubs

Sami Kokko, Alex Donaldson, Susanna Geidne, Jan Seghers, Jeroen Scheerder, Jeroen Meganck, Aoife Lane, Bridget Kelly, Meghan Casey, Rochelle Eime, Jari Villberg, Lasse Kannas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


This paper seeks to review the current international health-promoting sports club (HPSC) research, drawing together findings based on case studies from various countries to illustrate the status of HPSCs. In addition, future challenges for HPSC research and implementation are considered. The review includes six case studies from five countries. In summary, there are two major research themes in this area, namely ‘research into HPSC activity’ and ‘research into HPSC networks’. The first theme investigates the extent to which sports clubs and/or national sports organisations invest in health promotion (HP) – both in policy and practice. The latter theme is driven by an intention to widen the scope of HPSCs to reach novel internal actors, like parents, siblings, etc., and/or external non-sporting bodies, like communities, schools, etc. The future challenges for HPSC research require a better understanding of the motives, barriers and capacities of sports clubs and coaches. Sports organisations, clubs and coaches generally support the intent of the HPSC concept, but even with the best evidence- or theory-based HP programmes/guidelines/standards, nothing will happen in practice if the nature and capacities of sports clubs are not better acknowledged. Therefore, a call for embracing implementation science is finally made to enhance implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-84
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal Health Promotion
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2016


  • adolescents
  • health promotion
  • settings approach
  • sport
  • sports club
  • youth


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