Student Perceptions of Exercise Role Modelling By Secondary Health Educators

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Kinesiology and Nutrition


Objective: To examine secondary student perceptions, as well as health educator perceptions, as they relate to health educator role modelling of exercise. Additionally, self-reported exercise behaviours of health educators and their students were reported. For the purposes of this study, role modelling is defined as the influence health educators have regarding the exercise behaviours of their students.

Design: A teacher questionnaire and similar student questionnaire were developed and designed to self-report current exercise behaviours and role modelling perceptions of secondary health educators and their students. Questions included items regarding exercise participation, frequency, duration, type of exercise, self-perceived level of physical fitness, importance of being physically fit, and health educator role modelling information.

Setting Questionnaires were administered to health educators and their ninth grade students during health education classes.

Method: Teacher questionnaires, administered to secondary health educators (n=20),and student questionnaires,administered to secondary health education students (n=656), were used as a means of gathering data. All questionnaires were administered by the investigators.

Results: Secondary health educators appeared, through reported behaviour, to exhibit positive exercise role modelling. Eighteen health educators (90 per cent) perceived themselves to be exercise role models for their students, while 77.8 per cent of the students perceived their teacher to be an exercise role model. Students indicated the curriculum regarding the health benefits of exercise presented in class by the health educator as the primary reason for the teacher serving as a positive role model.

Conclusion: It was concluded that health educators may, indeed, be a powerful influence for promoting exercise to their students, but students appear to be less perceptive of the health educator's participation in exercise and more perceptive of the exercise curriculum presented in health class.

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Health Education Journal





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