Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Children's Definitions of Physical Fitness

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Children's Definitions of Physical Fitness

Article excerpt

Joan B. Landry, Melinda A. Solmon, Helene Afeman, Paul Rukavina, Kathy Hill, and Louis Harrison, Jr., Louisiana State University

The Surgeon General's Report (USDHHS, 1996) identified physical inactivity as a major health risk factor in our society. It has been reported that a significant number of our nation's children are inactive and unfit. Insufficient physical activity is an important contributor to obesity in children and adolescents. An active lifestyle is considered a vital component of physical fitness and disease prevention, and studies indicate that children who choose to be active will be more likely to remain active as adults than those who are inactive. Increasingly those responsible for elementary school physical education programs are searching for ways to provide children with more opportunities to engage in physical activity and physical fitness testing is being advocated as an important program component. However, little is known about children's definitions of physical fitness, how their class experiences affect their perceptions of fitness, and ultimately their activity choices. The purpose of this study was to inv estigate children's definitions of physical fitness. Participants for this study were 143 fifth-grade students (57 boys and 86 girls, Mage = 11.21 years, SD = .63; 80 African Americans and 63 European Americans) enrolled in one of four public schools in the Southeast. …

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