For some time there has been a suspicion that young people are
not as physically active as previous generations and this, coupled
with the discovery of risk factors associated with coronary heart
disease becoming observable in young people, changes in diet and
the development of sedentary life styles in Western society, suggests
that there could be serious implications for the short- and long-term health of young people.
If this situation exists then it would appear that there is an educational
role in schools to provide courses which raise these issues and
provide a suitable medium for young people to become knowledgeable
about themselves and exercise.
However, to date, a data base does not exist which would provide
evidence about how active young people are and about their attitudes
towards physical activity and Physical Education.
This study attempts to contribute towards this data base by providing
evidence about the activity patterns of a large random sample of
500 young people between the ages of 11 to 16 years, from a local
education authority in the West Midlands.
This phase of the study was followed by interviews of over 100 young
people who had been involved in the activity survey, to ascertain
their attitudes towards physical activity and Physical Education.
In order to make a stronger contribution to this data base and
to place this survey into context, the study also addresses itself
to a review of existing literature related to this area, the development
of research tools for this kind of survey and discusses the implications
the results have for Physical Education in this country.
A Master's Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy at Loughborough University.