PE Sport and Physical Activity in Scotland and beyond

Archive for the ‘obesity’ Category

Non Competitive play leads to more Physical Activity but is it less enjoyable?

Posted by drilly on June 6, 2008

Here is an interesting article that raises questions about the organisation of PE and physical activity for children. The research shows that children who were involved in non competitive games were more active than children who were involved in competitive games. However as you dig deeper you discover that the competitive games were all elimination games e.g. when you lose, or are caught or make a mistake you are out of the game (ie not being active) as opposed to the non competitive games where there was no elimination. I wonder what the results would have shown if the competitive games had been non elimination games?

What was also interesting is that the children were surveyed for self-efficacy, enjoyment, and peer victimisation following both types of games. Results showed that enjoyment was higher following competitive games, although enjoyment scores were high in non-elimination games as well. There were no reports of peer victimisation in either set of games, but were significant increases in self-efficacy after both sets.

The key messages for me are that competition is important for enjoyment, if handled correctly, however we need to promote non elimination games to ensure the highest levels of activity as well. I have expressed my views on competition before in a previous post. The study also highlights the positive benefits from activity within the childrens affective domain and the positive benefits to mental health.

There is also a link within the article to another interesting article ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT HIGHER AMONG MOST ACTIVE KIDS Vigorous Physical Activity Linked to Better Grades The research shows that examination of activity and physical education (PE) compared to academic achievement shows the most active kids more often have better grades.

This begs the question if PE and physical activity (don’t get me started on the difference between them) can have such positive and wide ranging benefits and in light of our appalling obesity and health record in Scotland why are we still having to fight so hard to justify it having a significant time allocation in the curricula of many learning establishments!

Posted in fitness, Health, obesity, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Research | Leave a Comment »

Human Kinetics UKPE Newsletter June 2008

Posted by drilly on June 5, 2008

The June edition of the Human Kinetics UKPE Newsletter has just been published and features the following:


  • Product of the month…
  • Learn how to use technology to increase physical activity
  • Help your pupils bounce their way to fun and fitness
  • New career guide from BASES and Human Kinetics
  • Largest school sport event in history
  • Protective parents deny children the chance to get on their bikes
  • Government gives green light to National Sports Skills Academy
  • Exercise ‘does not make obese children slim’
  • Design your own play space: Ministers launch website to get kids’ views on play
  • Obesity crisis ‘will lead to children having their stomachs stapled’
  • Posted in Education, Health, Learning, obesity, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Resources, Sport, Teaching | Leave a Comment »

    Human Kinetics News letters

    Posted by drilly on May 25, 2008

    Human Kinetics UKPE April Newsletter contains some interesting articles and references to resources summary below

    ·  International Dance Day discount!

    ·  Help your pupils learn essential social skills through character-building activities

    ·  Achieve maximum fun and fitness in PE lessons with new physical education resource

    ·  Parents ‘too scared to let children play outside’

    ·  £5.5m plan to inspire new generation of Billy Elliots in schools

    ·  Obese children to die younger than parents

    ·  Labour’s 187 broken promises on playing field sales

    ·  Heart disease risk ‘increases for children who are inactive’

    ·  School-gate fast food ban urged

    ·  More children are watching junk-food adverts despite ban

    There is also lots of lots of interesting reading and resources identified in the April FitNews the April Academic News the May FitNews and the May Academic News. Happy reading

    Posted in Dance, Education, fitness, Health, obesity, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Research, Resources, Sport, Teaching | Leave a Comment »

    Using Nintendo Wii to combat obesity

    Posted by drilly on January 29, 2008

    independent.pngInteresting article in The Independent about schools in Worcestershire using the Wii console to promote physical activity. Read the full article

    Posted in computer games, fitness, Health, ICT in PE, obesity, Physical Activity, Physical Education | Leave a Comment »

    PE Not Fit for Purpose

    Posted by drilly on October 16, 2007


    Last weeks TESS reports on the research of Dr Suzanne Groves from the University of Chichester School of Physical Education. According to Dr Groves research “Physical Education and Obesity Issues” PE fails many overweight and obese pupils as their experiences during the subject discourage and alienate them. The research found that PE often reinforces their feelings of inadequacy and abnormality. This is compounded by teachers and classmates attitudes towards them and bullying during PE lessons. I was saddened to read this and that obese pupils claim “they often feel they do not have the right to participate in PE even when they enjoy physical activity”

    Dr Groves suggests we should provide classes which cater specifically for the needs of the overweight. My initial response to this was “no way” would it not stigmatise these pupils further to be singled out and put together in the “fat class” or whichever other derogatory term their mindless peers would attach to the group.

    Then I stepped back and thought about it . PE is a very public experience and failure is on view for everyone to see whereas in maths it need only be between the teacher and the pupil. Therefore feelings of inadequacy can be reinforced if failure in PE is handled in the wrong manner. There is no doubt that being overweight or obese can have a negative impact on performance in PE in many situations and thus impact on the pupils learning experience. 

    Maybe obesity and overweight issues should be viewed as a barrier to learning in PE in the same way as reading difficulties are viewed as a barrier to learning in other subjects. When these barriers are identified in other subjects support is provided on an individual basis and depending on the individuals needs their timetable can be modified and they may receive additional targeted support in specialised teaching situations.

    Should we not do the same with obese and overweight pupils? Provide them with specialised targeted support to help them overcome their barriers and be able to progress towards an active and healthier life. Provide them with additional lessons that provide a safe, supportive environment where they can overcome the physical and undoubtedly emotional barriers that would allow them to access more of the curriculum.

    I am not advocating removing these children from PE and giving them a different experience. I am advocating targeted, specific additional lessons that supplement their mandatory PE lessons. I am also not necessarily advocating that these additional lesson should be solely the preserve of the PE department. Obesity is a complex issue and should have a multi agency approach that covers not only physical but also emotional, social and nutritional health. Though physical activity and the PE department should be at the heart of it.

    Why? Well lets face it there is the health and mortality issues from being overweight this should possibly be reason enough to be provided with additional support not many people develop the same range and frequency of symptoms that impacts on their health and longevity from not being able to read! Not that I am suggesting that being unable to read is not an important issue.

    Dr Groves highlights another reason ” the demands being placed on the profession are sufficiently diverse as to result in teachers being unable to address the specific needs of these children within PE lessons”. This however is not an excuse to ignore the children facing these difficulties we must ensure that what we teach is differentiated and allows these pupils to access PE at a level which is appropriate to their ability. However we must handle this sensitively without inadvertently drawing more attention on to these potentially self conscious pupils.

    Perhaps there is a case for streaming in PE so that pupils of similar ability and fitness levels work together and have content that is tailored to their needs. This is something that Stonelaw Academy have trialed. Stonelaw Fitness sections

    The Guardian article Schools told to tackle teenage obesity crisis 15/10/07 highlights some shocking statistics. An official study to be published on Wednesday will predict that half the population could be obese within the next 25 years. The Foresight report is also expected to say the epidemic will cost the country £45bn a year by 2050 if the loss of productivity from people who suffer obesity-related health-care problems is added to the cost of treating them.

    If this was attributed to a literacy or numeracy problem I wonder how much money would be thrown at it to support schools in making a difference?

    “Schools should be doing more to convince teenage girls to take part in sport including scrapping “embarrassing” gym kits and offering alternative activities such as Frisbee and yoga sessions in an effort to halt the growing obesity crisis, the secretary of state for families Ed Balls has told the Guardian”. He has also called for parents to help to tackle the issue as well.

    I think schools, PE departments and in deed parents in Scotland could take a much more proactive role, but not without more funding and support to do so. This would require some major investment but it would still be a fraction of the estimated £45bn per year to deal with treating the symptoms of obesity. A worthwhile investment? Undoubtedly in my opinion but I wont hold my breath waiting for it.

    Posted in fitness, obesity, Physical Activity, Physical Education | Leave a Comment »