The playful pursuit of child public health

Jenni Etchells, Alison Tonkin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores how play and playfulness contribute to the public health agenda for children and adolescents, acknowledging the central role of play in helping children to reach their full potential. It focuses on the self-reinforcing pleasure that play brings through reward pathways in the brain, and explores play-based strategies that are rooted in the edutainment and playful engagement of children and adolescents. The chapter examines several examples which demonstrate how play approaches vary according to the developmental phase under consideration. Child public health plays a major role in promoting holistic health and wellbeing, not just for children and adolescents themselves, but also for their families and local communities within the broader social and political landscapes. Encouraging children and their families to adopt a healthy lifestyle requires consideration of environmental determinants which might counteract the benefit of an active, outdoor lifestyle. Involving children and young people as active participants in the public health agenda is an absolute necessity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlay and playfulness for public health and wellbeing
EditorsAlison Tonkin, Julia Whitaker
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781351010443, 9781351010450
ISBN (Print)9781138541665, 9781138541689
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

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