Teaching Health and Physical Education in Australian Schools

Topics: Public health, Health, Obesity Pages: 22 (6363 words) Published: March 16, 2013

For millions of primary school students all over the world physical education and health studies provide them with critical learning outcomes that if internalized will have a profound impact on one’s health and well-being well into adulthood. The key to having students make the principles and practices an integral part of their attitudes and beliefs as adults is to follow the framework of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Ottawa Charter and install have a Health Promoting School (HPS) that acts not only as a place of knowledge and information but a place that contributes holistically to their wellbeing. This paper identifies and discusses aspects in which an HPS through their conduits both teachers and the wider community, can create and foster an atmosphere where primary school students have access a wide array of tools and resources. Essentially, if primary students and their parents are aware and armed with the knowledge and strategies for health and wellbeing, the likelihood that the preventable disease of obesity that plagues many young people today will be easier to avoid. A three part teaching lesson plan that meets VELS level 4 learning standards is presented to make students aware of the social, emotional and physical ramifications of obesity including the marketing of junk food and the various lights in which celebrities are perceived.

Part 1: Discussion

In the book Teaching Health and Physical Education In Australian Schools, Richard Tinning provides a reflection on the logic and benefits of an Health Promoting School (HPS) to the community as he explains that the health of our children and youth is part of a national health problem. The school is one of the key institutional influences on children and youth (the others are family and media) and a key site for education about healthy lifestyles. A HPS is in the national and individual interest (Tinning 2006, p.8) Tinning explains that while health discourses have played a crucial role in physical education, historically the subject area of health education has received varying degrees of attention from both education authorities and research circles.(Tinning et al. 2006, p.5).

The definition of health promotion has varied throughout the years. In 1974, then Canadian Minister of National Health & Welfare Marc Lalonde described it as a strategy aimed at informing, influencing and assisting both individuals so that they will accept more responsibility and be more active in matters affecting mental and physical health (Lalonde 1974, p.3). Over a decade later, Don Nutbeam described health promotion as the process of enabling people to increase control over determinants of health and thereby improving their health (Nutbeam 1985, p.23). A few years later, O’Donnell explained it as the science and art of helping people choose their lifestyles to move towards a state of optimal health (O’Donnell 1989, p.28).

Although all the definitions may not be inaccurate, they don’t necessarily use a holistic approach to teaching and promoting health education, as they put more of the onus on the individual instead of taking into account many of the outside contributing factors that can come from the community as a whole.

Essentially, health education changed when the ‘holy grail’ of a new public health movement was created in 1986 by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Ottawa Charter for Health promotion (Tinning et al. 2006, p.60). This was an international policy document that has become the guiding framework for health promotion initiatives worldwide. (Tinning et al. 2006, p.60) Importantly, the design of the Ottawa Charter advocated a new definition of the term health. Once seen as merely the absence of disease, health was now identified as a state of ‘complete physical, mental and social well-being’ (Queensland Health and Education 2001, p. 12), and this an essential ‘resource for everyday life’ (Queensland Health and...

References: * eHow. (2008). Retrieved October 14, 2008 from http://www.ehow.com/how_2048302_prevent-obesity.html
* Center for Disease Control
* Health Guide. (2008). Retrieved October 14, 2008 from http://helpguide.org/
* The Obesity Society
* Obesity in America. (2008). Retrieved October 14, 2008 from http://www.obesityinamerica.org/
* U.S
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