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Competing for ideal bodies: a study of exergames used as teaching aids in schools
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden.
Uppsala Univ, Dept Educ, Uppsala, Sweden.
GIH Swedish Sch Sport & Hlth Sci, Stockholm, Sweden.
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8748-8843
2014 (English)In: Critical Public Health, ISSN 0958-1596, E-ISSN 1469-3682, Vol. 24, no 2, 196-209 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Since the development of the welfare state, the Swedish school subject Health and Physical Education (HPE) has been regarded as an important site for public health work, and still assumes a central role in promoting the health of the coming generation. A specific type of health intervention, promoted by researchers in recent years, is the use of so-called exergames. In some countries, these fitness games are used as teaching aids in physical education classes and can be seen as examples of how public health issues and popular culture are shaping HPE in schools. The aim of the study reported in this paper is to examine which messages about health and body are offered, and how these are expressed in some of the fitness games used as teaching aids in school. The results of the study highlight the dangers of using exergames in the teaching of HPE in schools. The messages communicated by the games have a number of potentially harmful consequences, particularly with regard to the creation of specific health and bodily norms based on a measurable ideal. The use of this tool in education is thus far from value free, and the problems that might be solved when using the games are not necessarily the ones that education should privilege.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2014. Vol. 24, no 2, 196-209 p.
Keyword [en]
collateral learning, health education, ideal body, exergames, physical education
National Category
Social Sciences Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Sports Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-35115DOI: 10.1080/09581596.2013.872771ISI: 000334059800008ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84897070952OAI: diva2:718728
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Available from: 2014-05-22 Created: 2014-05-22 Last updated: 2015-12-16Bibliographically approved

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