Confronting Obesity in Youth: A Holistic Approach for Physical Educatores
- Heck, Lindsey Anne
- Area of Honors:
- Bachelor of Science
- Document Type:
- Thesis Supervisors:
- Robert Scott Kretchmar, Thesis Supervisor
Robert Scott Kretchmar, Thesis Supervisor
Stephen Jacob Piazza, Honors Advisor
Karl Maxim Newell, Faculty Reader
- understanding obesity
physical education responses
discovering personal meaning
having "an experience"
growing movement playgrounds
- There is little question the United States is suffering from what some have labeled “an obesity epidemic.” According to Allison (as cited in Kobayashi, 2007), at least 280,000 premature deaths occur every year due to obesity and the complications caused by being overweight. The onset of obesity continues to accelerate with many children now facing the health and social consequences of being overweight. With the problem continuing to expand, it is clear that current approaches for promoting healthful diet and exercise have not been effective. Melville noted, “…Unless something changes, more of the population will become overweight or obese and suffer from debilitating and life-threatening diseases” (2009, p. 54). This study targets obesity in youth and presents a holistic method for physical educators to aid in reversing and preventing current obesity trends. Explanations are provided for the causes of obesity, the validity of various methods for measuring obesity, and the barriers to active living many individuals face. Additionally, current physical education programs are evaluated for their efficacy in addressing the obesity problem. This analysis revealed potential weaknesses in current approaches. Physical education programs are not designed to promote or enhance meaning. A more holistic approach toward a physical education curriculum is presented that not only allows students to be active, but provides an environment that encourages the opportunity to “have an experience” and develop a sense of meaning within a particular area of physical activity. This method involves spending more time in a particular domain of physical education, encouraging the development of intrinsically motivating experiences, and being the guide to leading youngsters on a lifetime journey of meaningful, life-changing, and rewarding physical activity.