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Findings Series 18 - Health Impacts of the John Muir Award

Date: January 2009
Category: Briefing Paper
Author: GCPH

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This briefing paper outlines the findings from a study which assessed the impact of the John Muir Award on the health-related behaviours, attitudes and aspirations of participants.   

The purpose of the study was to answer the question: Does participation in the John Muir Award significantly alter young people’s health-related attitudes, behaviours and trajectories? 

Data was collected via questionnaires and focus groups and key findings of this paper are:

  • The vast majority (95%) of the respondents enjoyed their John Muir Award experience and felt they had achieved something by doing it (92%). 
  • Whilst the vast majority of respondents reported that their Award involvement made them want to spend more time outdoors and to visit natural environments, the Award experience had no clear impact on physical activity levels or on attitudes to physical activity.
  • There was no difference between boys and girls in terms of attitude to, enjoyment of, and impact of their award experience.
  • The cross-cutting nature of the impacts suggests that the Award experience can be closely aligned with three of the Government’s strategic objectives: a Healthier Scotland; a Smarter Scotland; and a Greener Scotland.


This paper also summarises conclusions and implications for policy and practice.