Representation of physical activity domains and sedentary behaviours in physical education textbooks: an image analysis

  • Vladimir Martinez-Bello
  • Javier Molina-García
Keywords: Curriculum, Health policy, Methods and materials of instruction, Public Health, School


Schools play an important role in promoting active lifestyles among children. The aim of this study was to evaluate the representation of physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviours (SBs) in the images of physical education (PE) textbooks. The initial sample was composed of 1 094 images from Spanish PE textbooks. A final sample of 291 images was randomly selected. They were analysed using a coding scheme. The PA domains and SBs, the gender and age of the characters, the time at which the activity occurred and the presence of disability were considered. Men were mainly predominant in the images, which showed leisure-time physical activities (LTPAs). A high percentage of images showed both genders performing SBs. Both the images representing LTPAs and SBs took place mainly after school. Images illustrating active commuting situations were negligible. Both disabled and the elderly groups were under represented. These findings highlight the need to reduce the normalisation of SBs in PE textbooks whilst also minimising differences in gender, age and disability categories in distinct PA contexts. Teachers should be made aware of the imbalance of images according to these categories in order to select textbooks that depict under-represented persons engaged in PA in multiple settings.

Key words: Curriculum; Health policy; Methods and materials of instruction; Public Health; School.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069