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Health Educ Res. 1993 Jun;8(2):167-79.

Perception of physical education classes among young adolescents: do physical education classes provide equal opportunities to all students?

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  • 1Research Center for Health Promotion, University of Bergen, Norway.


From a public health perspective, physical activity in children and adolescents is seen as important for disease prevention and health promotion. Physical activity patterns are learned through socialization processes where one of the influential sources is the school through physical education classes. The purpose of the present study was (1) to examine young adolescents' general perception of physical education classes, and (2) to explore the relationship between these perceptions and students' social resources, gender and level of leisure time physical activity and self-evaluated competence in physical education. A total of 895 seventh graders (13 year olds) were surveyed in Norway concerning their perception of physical education classes. Indicators of social resources were chosen from the arenas of family, friends and school. The main finding was that a majority of students liked physical education classes. Physical education classes seemed, however, not to offer the less socially resourceful minority the same opportunities for positive experience with physical activity as the resourceful majority. Boys' general perception of physical education classes seemed to be more positive than girls' and physically active students perceived physical education classes more favorably than less physically active students.

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