Physical education: clear and present benefits and responsibilities. The Fritz Duras memorial lecture 2017

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Abstract

A habitually active environment is a feature of past times, and in stark contrast with that experienced by our children today. Consequently, twenty-first century physical education (PE) assumes a position of great responsibility. This is especially true in primary schools; a premise recently strongly supported by published evidence from the Australian LOOK randomised controlled trial. This trial, consisting of an intervention of specialist-conducted PE over four years, extends on previous research to clearly demonstrate reduction in the early appearance of risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in boys and girls, together with evidence of beneficial structural development in the bone and left ventricle of girls. In addition, the children undertaking the specialist PE enjoyed a substantially increased progression in nationally assessed numeracy and literacy. Of concern, however, is that these benefits were in relation to a control group of PE taught by classroom teachers, who usually assume responsibility for PE in at least four days of the week. To address this, an economically realistic scheme is being trialled to provide primary schools with the means of delivering the quality and quantity of PE commensurate with the demonstrated benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-145
Number of pages13
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2017

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