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Fitness education is a subcomponent of the total physical education program, focusing on helping students acquire knowledge and higher-order understanding of health-related physical fitness as well as habits of physical activity and other healthy lifestyles. Many excellent resources for providing fitness education exist, but rising concern among professionals in the field indicated a need for a resource defining the instructional sequence of fitness education concepts and behavioral skills, from elementary school through college.
In 2009, AAHPERD/NASPE awarded Dr. Xiaofen Keating, Ph.D. and her team of professionals from the University of Texas at Austin the NASPE Fitness Education Project Grant for their project entitled, Fitness Education in K-16 Programs. Funding for this project was made possible by cooperative agreement award number U58/DP-000420 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The goal of the two-year project was to define the instructional sequence of fitness education concepts and behavioral skills from elementary school through college in physical education and health courses. Although the term "fitness" is used in many ways, in this project, fitness education is defined as health-related fitness education.
During the course of their research, the team collected existing resources on fitness education in K-16 physical education and health courses, and conducted a literature review of the existing, available materials. The conclusion of this project resulted in a research-based account of what should be taught in fitness education courses in grades K-16, and identified appropriate instructional practices that should be employed at each level. Download The Scope & Sequence of Fitness Education for PreK-16 Programs: NASPE Fitness Education Project, the final summative report describing the method and findings of this useful educational research.
NASPE's Board of Directors charged the research team with the task of transforming the most critical information from the research report into a user-friendly resource for teachers, to guide their practice during physical fitness instruction.
The Instructional Framework for Fitness Education in Physical Education (IFFEPE) is a scope/sequence publication outlining what should be taught in fitness education to students in grades K-16. The purpose of IFFEPE is to suggest what students should understand and be able to do at specific grade levels, focusing on helping students adopt a healthy lifestyle during the PreK to 16th years of education. The development of the IFFEPE assumes that a health-enhancing level of physical fitness is attainable for all students through regular engagement in moderate to vigorous physical activity, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or cultural background. The content included in the IFFEPE was developed holistically; all areas are important and should be included in fitness education.
Download the Instructional Framework for Fitness Education in PE 2012.