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Future Physical Education Teachers' Perceptions of the Obese Child

Authors
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Lb2300 Higher Education
  • Rj101 Child Health. Child Health Services
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Education
  • Medicine
  • Psychology

Abstract

Recent research identifies the prevalence of overweight and obesity as a growing problem across developed countries bringing with them associated increases in essentially physiological ill health conditions such as diabetes, certain cancers and coronary heart disease. Obesity, in particular, has also been identified as being associated with psychological, sociological and indeed developmental disturbances that have lead the causes and affects of obesity to be considered as highly complicated, multifaceted phenomena. Inadequate school physical education has, in the media especially, been targeted as the culprit for the rising incidence of overweight and obesity in children despite evidence that identifies that time engaged in school physical education actually only accounts for one percent of a child’s waking hours. Research has attempted to address not only the impact of the teacher on the physical education experience, but also on the attitudes of the children towards physical education and physical activity in the broader context to predict future physical activity, in both normal and overweight children. Few articles have attempted to investigate the perceptions of the teacher toward their pupils however, and no published research has been identified that has examined if physical education teachers view obese children differently to normal weight children. This paper, therefore, proposes to investigate future physical education teacher’s perceptions of obese children in comparison to normal weight children using an adapted version of Whitehead’s Children and Youth Physical Self Perception Profile (Whitehead, 1995) in a sample of physical education students in England. The importance of this research lies in the potential translation of the attitudes and perceptions of physical education teachers into behaviours towards children when it is becoming increasingly apparent that school physical education is some children’s only experience of physical activity and as such, their only opportunity to lay the foundations for a physically active and healthy adulthood.

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