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Physical fitness for the few or physical activity and health for all: Coexisting ideologies or Pushmi-Pullyu tensions in the quest for building an active, health nation? Public Deposited

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  • Is it better to have a select few people serve as representatives of a nation’s health and vitality, or to have the whole of a nation be active and healthy? The answer speaks volumes about a society’s values and long-term interests in its citizens and their prosperity. If the emphasis is on a select few, then an illusion of a healthy and active society can be created. The mass public can bask in the reflective glory of the achievements of the representative few, but they themselves may never know or experience true health, happiness, or prosperity. This presentation will consider the value propositions associated with this question from the perspective of: (a) the academic discipline of physical education; (b) 21st century diseases, 19th century wisdom; (c) understanding physical activity behavior: psychosocial and sociocultural perspectives; (d) isotemporal substitution model; (e) sociocultural relevancy model and community-based participatory research; and (f) syndemic nature of hypokinetic diseases and sedentary death syndrome. To positively affect change among the masses, those involved in delivering physical activity interventions and programming must not only address each lifestyle behavior and social affliction that contributes to hypokinetic diseases, but also to the social and environmental forces that link those causes together (e.g., stigma, unequal access to resources). The aim of this presentation is to critically reflect on where the discipline of physical education has been and to offer suggestions about where it is going, with a keen interest in advancing inclusive physical activity practices that benefit the whole of society. The complexities of physical inactivity-related diseases will be discussed, leading to recommendations for assuring the sociocultural relevancy of the work that is being done, work that can be enhanced by employing community-based participatory research methods.
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  • Cardinal, B. J. (2017). Physical fitness for the few or physical activity and health for all: Coexisting ideologies or Pushmi-Pullyu tensions in the quest for building an active, health nation? Proceedings 7th Institute of Physical Education International Conference 2017. Theme: Sports, Health, Recreation, and Tourism: The Added Economic Value (pp xii-xxiii). Bangkok, Thailand: Institute of Physical Education, Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
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  • Bangkok, Thailand
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