Academic journal article The ICHPER-SD Journal of Research in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance

Self-Regulation of Physical Education Teacher Education Students' Attitudes towards Exercise and Diet

Academic journal article The ICHPER-SD Journal of Research in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance

Self-Regulation of Physical Education Teacher Education Students' Attitudes towards Exercise and Diet

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess differences in self-regulation of attitudes towards engaging in exercise and eating a healthy diet between physical education teacher education (PETE) students and general education (GE) students, and between male students and female students. Participants were university students (n = 194) at a university in the Intermountain West in the U.S. Results showed that PETE students were more autonomous in their attitudes towards exercise than other students, all female students were more controlled in their attitudes towards diet than males, and PETE females' attitudes towards diet were more controlled than PETE males. PETE curricula should include experiences to help students internalize exercise and healthy diet values so they will develop attitudes towards engaging in exercise and eating a healthy diet for autonomous reasons.

Key Words: self-determination, healthy lifestyles

In 2009 there was not a single state in the U.S. that met the Healthy People 2010 obesity target of 15% or less for adults. In fact the opposite seems to be the trend with the number of states with obesity rates of > 30% increasing from zero in 2000 to nine in 2009. The overall estimated rate of adult obesity in 2009 was 26.7% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). Children and adolescents are not far behind. Using measured heights and weights, an estimated 17% of U.S. children ages two to 19 are obese (Ogden, Carroll, Curtin, Lamb, & Flegal, 2010), and Sing, Mulder, Twisk, Van, Chinapaw (2008) state that childhood obesity often continues into adulthood.

Perfectly placed to help prevent childhood obesity are physical education (PE) instructors who have a prime opportunity to educate about the benefits of exercise, encourage children and young adults to participate regularly in physical activity (Sallis & McKenzie, 1991 ; Wright, Patterson, & Cardinal, 2000), and to engage in other healthy behaviors such as good diets (Prusak et al. 2011). Prusak et al. reinforced the view that PE should be a public health tool with a healthy and active lifestyle management (HALM) focus. They suggest such a focus should include elementary classes in which the children are highly active, successful and having fun; and utilizing a health club model in secondary schools which allow for activity choices, teaching HALM skills, and accountability. In addition, Prusak et al. further emphasized the need for Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) programs to prepare new teachers so they can teach with this HALM focus and model appropriate exercise and diet habits.

Modeling healthy lifestyles is important according to Melville and Maddalozzo, (1989). They found that high school students expressed a decreased intent to exercise and a less favorable rating of an overweight instructor's expertise and role model appropriateness. Indeed, Social Learning Theory proposes that most behavior is learned from observing (Bandura, 1986), underscoring the need for current and future physical educators who are good role models of healthy lifestyles in order to exert a positive effect on their students (National Association for Sport and Physical Education, 2004). Some physical educators espouse the value of living a physically active lifestyle, but do not regularly participate in physical activity (PA) themselves (Melville, 1999). In fact some in-service PE teachers' health-related fitness scores did not meet the standard of achievement expected of a ninthgrade student (Castelli & Williams, 2007).

Cardinal (2001) found that PE professionals and preprofessionals who were physically active and had lower body mass index (BMI) scores had more favorable attitudes toward role modeling compared to inactive respondents and respondents with higher BMIs. He also found that self-perceived fitness level and actual physical activity were important variables in forming a positive attitude toward role modeling (Cardinal & Cardinal, 2003). …

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