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Physical Education: Helping Others to Be Stronger for Longer

As children continue to spend more time sitting in front of computer and television screens than they do playing outside, the issue of childhood obesity continues to be one of the nation’s top health concerns. According to the KidsHealth Web site, “Those who weigh too much are also at risk for a wide range of physical, emotional, and psychological health issues.” In order to combat these problems, people look to physical education instructors to encourage people to be healthy and fit. That is why the Utah Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (UAHPERD) chose as the theme for its 2009 state convention, “Every body stronger, every life longer.”

The convention, held at BYU in the Smith Fieldhouse and Richards Building in November, was attended by 290 physical education professionals, and by university students enrolled in PETE programs throughout the state. From 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., participants attended presentations designed around the theme of promoting health to prolong life. BYU’s Maria Zanandrea, an elementary pedagogy professor, gave a practical presentation with some of her students, titled Sport Adaptation for Students with Disabilities in Secondary Schools. This group demonstrated possible ways to adapt four different sports—volleyball, basketball, softball and soccer—to four different disabilities.

According to its Website, UAHPERD's mission is to promote and support creative and healthy lifestyles through high quality programs in health, physical education, recreation, dance and sport, and to provide members with professional development opportunities that increase knowledge, improve skills, and encourage sound professional practices. The annual state convention is one way for professionals to share with each other and with future professionals what they have learned about teaching physical education. “It keeps teachers on the cutting edge of what is happening in our field,” explained Glenna Padfield, faculty member in the Department of Teacher Education and President of UAHPERD.

Padfield, who was co-convention manager with Mel Olsen, said she was pleased with the turnout, particularly among students from BYU, Weber State, and the University of Utah. She expressed, “They are our future professionals. It is exciting to help prepare them as they’re getting ready to go out and make a difference through teaching.”

22 March 2010