What Role Does Curriculum Play in Reducing Students' Obesity in Australia Secondary Schools and What Are the Implications for Saudi Arabia?

Luyun Mohammed Salah Althubayt


There is a growing body of literature that recognises the importance of curriculum in promoting extracurricular activities and physical education. Promoting physical activity in high schools helps to reduce the rates of obesity in addition to eliminating risk factors for other ailments associated with the lack of physical activity, such as cardiovascular diseases. Recent evidence suggests that a school’s curriculum is the best vehicle for delivering physical education for school going children at all academic levels. However, research has consistently shown that in order to reap maximum benefits, teachers conducting physical education must balance physical education time so that they can avail sufficient time for physical activities. Furthermore, teachers and leaders of academic institutions are advised to lead by example, thus entailing the promotion of habits that encourage healthy lifestyles, such as eating healthy foods and doing physical exercises on a regular basis, preferably, in the company of children.

The issue of obesity has grown in importance recently in Australia as policymakers report that Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) especially in secondary schools is not enough to reduce the rates of obesity (Ward-Begnoche, Gance-Cleveland, Harris, & Dean, 2008). One observer has previously drawn attention to the paradox of physical education and physical activity in high schools. Physical education requires sufficient time to be spent lecturing students on the health benefits of exercise, yet simultaneously, competes with the time allocated to exercise. However, in the Saudi Arabian context, a major obstacle is that there is no clear promotion of physical activity and healthy eating habits to high school students, something that has significantly contributed to rising rates of obesity in secondary schools.

Investigating the role of curriculum in reducing the high rates of obesity in Australia and Saudi Arabia is a continuing concern for key educational policy makers as they continue to make persistent efforts to reduce this condition.  A much-debated question is whether PDHPE is indeed promoting physical activity and healthy eating in schools.  Previous studies of the role of PDHPE in reducing obesity in Australia and Saudi Arabia have not dealt with a number of environmental and social changes which have limited children’s access to safe places where they can walk, play, and bike. In Saudi Arabia, for example, there are numerous traffic dangers in the neighbourhood in addition to the lack of proper sidewalks for children to ride bicycles to and from school. This decrease in active transport for children in Saudi Arabia has contributed to the high levels of obesity being experienced right now. This paper attempts to show that curriculum plays a vital role in reducing the rates of obesity in secondary schools and will compare the literature that reports the effects of physical education in Australia and Saudi Arabia in reducing the rates of obesity.

Full Text: PDF
Download the IISTE publication guideline!

To list your conference here. Please contact the administrator of this platform.

Paper submission email: JNSR@iiste.org

ISSN (Paper)2224-3186 ISSN (Online)2225-0921

Please add our address "contact@iiste.org" into your email contact list.

This journal follows ISO 9001 management standard and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Copyright © www.iiste.org