February 13, 2012
Tagged: Ruth S. Ammon School of Education

Childhood Obesity: Dr. Rukavina and Dr. Doolittle Present Research in China

News, Press Release

Ruth S. Ammon School of Education Professors Attend International Conference on Obesity

by Mirirai Sithole

On October 26, Assistant Professor Paul Rukavina, Ph.D., and Associate Professor Sarah Doolittle, Ed.D., from the Department of Health Studies, Physical Education and Human Performance Science, embarked on a journey to spend two weeks presenting their research on teaching physical education and childhood obesity prevention at two conferences in Beijing and Suzhou, China.

Childhood Obesity: Dr. Rukavina and Dr. Doolittle Present Research in China - 1Dr. Rukavina and Dr. Doolittle joined about 30 American scholars at the International Conference—Toward the Future: New TiYu Science and Physical Education at Soochow University; a smaller group of scholars presented research at Beijing Sport University. The discussions in Suzhou were based on practical applications of theory while the Beijing conference was research oriented.

Compared to the American practice of promoting independent learning and living a healthy active lifestyle, the Chinese have a highly structured approach to fitness training in their classrooms. Dr. Rukavina believes that, “You can teach critical thinking and social skills through physical education [since] it is a holistic experience of mind, body and social interaction.” In China, he said, personal and social responsibility are not a major focus since their practices are more aerobic, synchronized and competitive.

Since China is undergoing a revolution in industrialization, Dr. Rukavina said there are signs that point to the potential emergence of childhood obesity. He said obesity is not yet a problem in China, but more cars, less bikes and an increase of wealth have contributed to a decrease in fitness levels.

Childhood Obesity: Dr. Rukavina and Dr. Doolittle Present Research in China - 2Dr. Rukavina, who teaches motor behavior and research method classes in Adelphi’s Physical Education Teacher Education Program, has extensive knowledge on childhood obesity.

He is one of three American scholars who wrote a chapter for each of three textbooks:
Elementary Methods
, Secondary Methods and Introduction to Kinesiology, which will be translated from English into Chinese for use in Chinese schools.

Dr. Rukavina also designed a program that features anti-fat attitudes intervention or sensitivity training for physical activity and education specialists. Through this program, professionals discuss the nature of obesity bias to increase sensitivity to the special needs of overweight individuals. Some of the intervention components consist of: raising consciousness and role-playing, as well as discussing
scientific information about the controllability of obesity.

About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning.

Adelphi University is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university offering exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training with particular strength in its Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness. Adelphi is dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support student success.

Founded in Brooklyn in 1896, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. Today Adelphi serves nearly 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, and online.

More than 100,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, caring citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

Tagged: Ruth S. Ammon School of Education