ERIC Number: EJ1180264
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Abstractor: As Provided
'You Can Tell Kind of about the Body': Young Children, Health, Fitness and Fatness
Pugmire, Ria; Lyons, Antonia C.
Sport, Education and Society, v23 n6 p533-546 2018
Fears of an 'obesity epidemic' in New Zealand and elsewhere have led to a growing focus on children's weight, diet and activities. The aim of this research project was to highlight children's voices, stepping back from obesity interventions to explore how health and obesity discourses are taken up by young primary school children. Nine 6 and 7-year-olds took part in individual semi-structured interviews which involved play and craft activities to focus discussion. Discourse analysis was used to explore how children talked about bodies, health, fitness and fatness. Children primarily drew on a series of clear-cut dichotomies around good foods and bad foods, and being active, able and fit, as well as constructing health in relation to the body in two distinct ways: fat vs. thin, and big-and-strong vs. small-and-weak. These findings support previous research suggesting that children, from a young age, are taking up narrow corporeal constructions of health in relation to food and fitness 'choices', and additionally children assume that these constructions can be 'read' off the body. On the other hand, children were also often hesitant, and at times resisted or problematised these straight-forward constructions, occasionally drawing on alternate understandings, including notions of pleasure and practicality, moderation, and being happy and healthy. Future research could explore these ideas further, investigating how children and adults utilise alternate meanings to negotiate the complexity of bodies, health, fitness and fatness.
Descriptors: Physical Fitness, Body Composition, Human Body, Obesity, Foreign Countries, Body Weight, Dietetics, Student Attitudes, Semi Structured Interviews, Discourse Analysis, Food, Physical Health, Elementary School Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A