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Physical education and health: considerations and issues.

posted on 04.01.2013, 13:01 by Jo Harris, Lorraine CaleLorraine Cale
The role of physical education in promoting health and producing a ‘healthy nation’ has been increasingly recognised in recent years (Stratton, Fairclough and Ridgers, 2008; Cale and Harris, 2005; Shephard and Trudeau, 2000). Indeed, physical education has been viewed as the most suitable vehicle for the promotion of healthy, active lifestyles among young people (Shephard and Trudeau; 2000) and contributing to public health via promoting healthenhancing lifestyles and increasing physical activity has been seen to be one, if not the most important, objectives of the subject (e.g. Fairclough and Stratton, 2005; Fox, Cooper and McKenna, 2004; Cardon and Bourdeaudhuij, 2002; Green, 2002; Shephard and Trudeau 2000). Furthermore, a number of Government policies and initiatives in England over the past decade have identified physical education to be instrumental in providing opportunities for young people to improve their health. A few notable examples include ‘Game Plan’ (Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS, 2002), ‘Every Child Matters’ (Department for Education and Skills (DfES, 2004), ‘Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives’ (Department of Health and Department for Children, Schools and Families (DoH/DCSF, 2008), and ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People’ (DoH, 2010). This chapter focuses on physical education and health and highlights some of the key considerations and commonly debated issues associated with the area of health within the physical education curriculum. Firstly, physical education’s contribution to health and addressing obesity are considered and then issues including the place, expression, organisation, content and delivery of health within the curriculum are explored.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


HARRIS, J. and CALE, L., 2012. Physical education and health: considerations and issues. IN: Capel S. and Whitehead, M. (eds). Debates in Physical Education. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 74 - 88.




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