Phys Ed and its relationship to health

24 Nov 2014
Phys Ed and its relationship to Health: Prof Mikael Quennerstedt

In this SSPE seminar on Monday 24th November, Professor Mikael Quennerstedt will introduce the salutogenic strength based approach to health and physical education. In this ‘salutogenic turn’ one important assumption is that health is not something people have or do not have. Instead, everybody is in some sense healthy. The question then becomes how we in physical education can help young people to develop their health.

How our health generally is affected over the course of our lives, in positive and/or negative ways, is not a matter of course. Rather it depends on how we define what health is. Of course various diseases, risks and injuries often affect health in negative ways, but in relation to school physical education, the affect, positive or negative, is not always as obvious.

How health is defined and understood, can be seen as an eternal scientific or philosophical problem often up for discussion in different contexts, with descriptions ranging from societal health issues, via social, emotional and spiritual well-being, to absence of disease or not being obese. Hence, what can be regarded as good or bad for peoples’ health, or, within the scope of this presentation, for students’ health, is closely related to how we as teachers and students as well as the society and institutions around us conceive health.

The salutogenic strength based approach to health and physical education critiques the dominance of a pathogenic perspective of health, as well as through considering health as a process. This also involves considering that health in many contexts would benefit from focusing on the origins of health rather than the origins of people’s deficits, diseases or illnesses. Physical activity can be regarded as something more than mere protection against disease or overweight; by posing salutogenic questions we can enrich our understanding of the educational values of school health and physical education.  

WHEN: Monday, 24th November at 11am to 12noon 



Short Biography

Mikael Quennerstedt is Professor in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy at the School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. Quennerstedt’s main area of research is within teaching and learning in physical education and in health education. In his research, questions of health, body, gender, artefacts, subject content, learning processes and governing processes within educational practices have been prominent. He also has written about how salutogenic theories of health can be a fruitful way to understand the relation between physical activity and health in educational practices.


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