The quality of DPE is of great importance
Health Promoting Criteria for the Effective Implementation of
Daily Physical Education
Physical inactivity has been identified as one of the leading risk factors for noncommunicable diseases, which are by far the primary causes of death in the world and their impact is steadily growing. Children are not immune to this burden, and effective interventions are urgently required. As DPAS (WHO, 2004) 49.§ states: „Schools are encouraged to provide students with daily physical education.” In Hungary, the new National Education Act Nr. 190 of 2011 prescribes daily physical education for all schools, and its gradual implementation was begun in the 2012/13 school year. To achieve the expected health gains, daily physical education must fulfill the following special health-promoting criteria:
1. Every student must take part in daily physical education classes. Namely, the number of unexcused and excused absences must be reduced. On the one hand, this is the parents’ obligation and, on the other, this applies to the doctor who, lacking in sports knowhow but wanting to be helpful and please, writes an excused note at the request of the student or parent. It is important that our medical colleagues consider the current sedentary life style that now requires a change in our thinking. For instance, a student with a musculoskeletal disorder who needs as much physical activity as possible should not be excused from physical education classes (of course, it is the physician’s responsibility and right to decide otherwise in individual cases).
2. Every physical class should contain enough exercise to properly strain the students’ cardiovascular and respiratory systems (indicated by: flushing, perspiration, panting) and the classes planned so that time spent by the students waiting (i.e., not moving) to take their turns be reduced to as little as possible.
3. Every physical education class should contain gymnastics including special posture correction exercises for every student for the development of biomechanically correct posture, and exercises for developing good breathing techniques. (The special posture correction exercises do not change with age and cannot be replaced with something else at any age, at most it may be supplemented with playful or diversified exercises.) The rules for protecting the spine and joints must be observed at all times.
4. Special attention should be given to the age-related weight bearing capacity of the spine and the joints while exercising.
5. Relaxation exercises should also be part of every student’s daily physical education class (the method used for ages 1-4 varies from the others).
6. Awareness of our body and muscles during the special posture correction and relaxation exercises will intensify the effect of physical education on the general wellbeing of our body and soul. It is important, therefore, that the physical education teachers emphasize this awareness and encourage its verbal expression.
7. The physical education teachers should also impart their knowledge between the connection of physical activity and the healthy psyche and the development of the ability to learn.
8. Dance classes could also be part of the daily physical education classes, if possible. Folk dancing for classes 1-4 and folk dancing and ball room dancing for classes 5-12. These encourage healthy psychological development.
9. It is important to also teach, as part of the daily physical education, sports that the students would want to continue practicing even throughout their entire lives (i.e., lifestyle sports). The schools can help choose these sports according to their facilities and possibilities.
10. Every physical education class should include disciplined work, joyful playfulness and a sense of achievement for each student, even those of less than average physical talent. In order to achieve this, such pedagogical and psychological methods should be followed that give each student activities suited to his or her capabilities; i.e., create work and play conditions that will allow each student to experience the sense of achievement and pleasure after a job well done.
11. The physical education teacher is in a singular position to make the students understand, through their own experiences, the effect that the activities of the class have on the healthy development of their system, body and soul. For this reason, in order for health skills to be effective and be internalized by the students, it is important that it be taught as an integral part of the physical education class. Personal hygiene, showering, or other cleansing methods, after physical activities and fluid replacement are especially important topics to be included.
12. When evaluating physical education it should be done in such a way that encourages the student to take an active part. Each student should be evaluated according to his or her own capabilities and based on his or her own personal results.
13. The quality of daily physical education is best ensured if the physical education class is taught by a physical education teacher or a teacher especially trained in physical education.
14. It is important that the students become familiar with the history of Hungarian sports. That the outstanding sports figures may be a motivation for them when choosing a sport outside school.
15. In Hungary, there is still much to be done on the part of the government in improving the physical conditions of daily physical education and in replacing missing items. Since the improvement of the conditions takes time and can only be accomplished gradually, many physical education rooms may, at the moment, not be set up adequately. In these situations, it rests upon the creativity of the teaching staff and the physical education teachers to come up with acceptable solutions for daily physical education classes. Worse than the lack of a perfect location is the lack of daily physical exercise.
All the above health-promoting criteria for daily physical education are contained in the official education rulings. Now is the time for the public health sector to ensure that these criteria are met and are part of all school children’s daily life.
Budapest, July 19, 2012 Annamária Somhegyi, MD, PhD
National Center for Spinal Disorders
Director of Prevention
National Pediatric Institut, Adviser
Supporting medical specialties and their directors in 2012:
Fodor József School Health Society, President: Brunner Péter MD,
General Secretary: Kaposvári Júlia MD
Hungarian Pediatric Society, President: Prof. Molnár Dénes MD
Hungarian Arteriosclerosis Society, President: Prof. Szollár Lajos MD
Hungarian Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Society, President: Prof. Veress Gábor MD,
General Secretary: Simon Attila MD
Hungarian Association of Rheumatologists, President: Prof. Poór Gyula MD
Hungarian Orthopedic Society, President: Kiss Jenő MD, PhD. Csc
Hungarian Spine Society, President: Skaliczky Zoltán MD
National Institute of General Practitioners, Director: Balogh Sándor MD
Bone and Joint Decade, National Coordinator: Bálint Géza MD, DSC
Hungarian Health Society, President: Prof. Kellermayer Miklós MD
Eduvital Nonprofit Health Education Society, President: Prof. Falus András DSC
Departments of Behavioral Sciences at the 4 Hungarian medical faculties, their directors: Prof. Túry Ferenc MD (Budapest), Prof. Kállai János MD (Pécs), Med. habil. Barabás Katalin MD (Szeged), Bugán Antal PhD (Debrecen)
Board of Physical Education and Sports Science, President: Prof. Tóth Miklós MD,
General Secretary: Gál László PhD