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The Benefits of Health-Related Fitness Education in Secondary PE

Rick C. Ferkel, Zach T. Hutchinson, Selen Razon, Larissa True, Dagny Zupin, Lani M. Jones, Lawrence W. Judge


The health status and physical activity levels in the United States of adolescents and adults is disheartening. Many health professionals have been using the term exercise is medicine to advocate more physically active lifestyles. Unfortunately, the focus of most PE curriculums is directed toward a sport and game model, which research indicates does not prepare students for continued PA, exercise, and fitness. This article challenges higher education and secondary PE programs to reevaluate the curricular approach of a sport and game model and shift to a health-related fitness education model. Health-related fitness education can empower students to create and execute a plan for lifetime fitness through learning the skills (e.g., exercise modalities) and knowledge (e.g., goal setting, FITT principles, planning) needed for staying fit. Health-related fitness education also helps develop self-efficacy and other affective attributes that can motivate for lifelong habitual adherence. There is no greater time than now for PE to be the leader in exercise is medicine, by equipping youth with the tools to make exercise, PA, fitness, and health a way of life today and forever.

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curriculum; obesity; physical education; teaching

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