Promoting Culturally Sensitive Strategies to Enhance Physical Education among Immigrant and Refugee Youth

Promoting Culturally Sensitive Strategies to Enhance Physical Education among Immigrant and Refugee Youth

Jerono P. Rotich (North Carolina A&T State University, USA) and Tiffany Fuller (North Carolina A&T State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9948-9.ch020
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

Given the prevalence of overweight and obesity among immigrant and refugee children and youth in America, there is a growing need for physical education, physical activity and sports professionals to incorporate culturally and socially responsive strategies into their programs and activities According to Ike-Chinaka (2013), obesity has been identified as a chronic disease that emerges among immigrant populations after they settled in the United States of America. This chapter will focus on the challenges of newly arrived immigrants and refugee youth, and determinants of participation in physical activity and sports. Additionally, the chapter offers some culturally and socially sensitive tips and strategies that professionals in physical education, physical activity and sports can incorporate into their programs and activities so as to increase the participation among newly arrived immigrants and refugee youth.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

In the past decade, the United States of America has witnessed a dramatic influx of immigrants and refugees (Portes & Rumbaut, 1996Rong & Preissle, 2008; Martin, & Midgley, 2006). Immigrant and refugee children and youth under the age of 18 continue to be the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population (Rong & Preissle, 2008; Martin, & Midgley, 2006). The school system in the United States of America has been the most significant social institution that has directly been impacted by the ever-increasing influx. These children represent over 150 different languages and dialects, and have different cultural beliefs, values, backgrounds and perceptions towards physical activity. Although most of them arrived to the United States of America with high expectations, it is unfortunate that most of them have been disappointed by their acculturation encounters (Rong & Preissle, 2008; Martin & Midgley, 2006; Kaleidoscope, 2003 & Rotich, 2004). They left behind a familiar language, culture, role models, community, and a social system, thus are forced to adapt to extremely different ways of life. They are confronted by two different cultures, and often struggle to find ways to balance the value systems of their native culture with those of the current culture. Many of these changes make them vulnerable to drug use, obesity, violence, teen pregnancies, and other unhealthy lifestyles (Kaleidoscope, 2003 & Rotich 2004). They face countless acculturation and poverty related challenges and are more likely to live in environments with limited support for health-promoting behaviors. Compared to other children and youth, adolescent immigrant and refugee youth, especially those living at or above the poverty threshold are more likely to become sedentary, overweight or obese (Ike-Chinaka 2013).

While the schools and communities are culturally enriched by this influx, they encounter numerous unprecedented acculturation related challenges that affect their health and academic success. According to Rong & Preissle (2008), their successful adaptation depends on the society’s response and especially the effectiveness of the U.S. educational system.

While the overall benefits experienced by the growing numbers of immigrants are positive, they face critical lifestyle and systematic challenges (Bailey, 2002; & Balgolpal, 2000). This, coupled with other unknown pre- and post- immigration crises have led to an increase in deviant acculturation such as disinterest, feelings of isolation, worthlessness, health problems, domestic violence, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), increase in school drop-outs, teenage pregnancies, sedentary lifestyles, and involvement in other detrimental and unhealthy lifestyles (Ike-Chinaka 2013; Bailey, 2002; Balgolpal, 2000; & MacDonald, 2003). These challenges are more pronounced among adolescent immigrant and refugee youth who are understudied, yet are seen as key to a serious understanding of the long term consequences of contemporary immigration to the American community (Portes and Rumbant, 1996; Bailey, 2003; Gordon-Larsen, Harris, Ward, & Popkin, 2003).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Refugee: An individual who was forced to flee their home country due to persecution, war, or natural disasters.

Immigrant: An individual, who is in the United States of America as a legal permanent resident, refugee, asylee, or is undocumented (Bailey, 2003 AU141: The in-text citation "Bailey, 2003" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Determinants: Refers to facilitators and barriers that influence behavior. They may be biologically determined, or may exist in the physical or the social environment that they live. They are characterized as facilitators and barriers ( Fahey, Instel, & Roth 2002 ).

Physical Activity: Any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that result in energy expenditure. Specific forms of physical activity in which young people might participate include walking, bicycling, playing actively (i.e., unstructured physical activity), participating in organized sports, dancing, doing active household chores, and working at a job that has physical demands ( Fahey, Instel, & Roth 2002 ).

Physical Inactivity: Not engaging in any regular pattern of physical activity beyond daily functioning ( Fahey, Instel, & Roth 2002 ).

Lifestyle Physical Activity: Consists of activities such as walking, climbing stairs, doing chores, and playing with siblings ( Fahey, Instel, & Roth 2002 ).

Sedentary Lifestyle: Engaging in no leisure-time physical activity (exercises, sports, physically active hobbies) in a two-week period ( Fahey, Instel, & Roth 2002 ).

At-Risk Youth: Youth who live in negative environments or those who lack the skills, values, and resources to become responsible members of a community (Collingwood, 1997 AU140: The in-text citation "Collingwood, 1997" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Structured Physical Activity: Consists of programs (e.g., sports and instructional programs in dance, gymnastics, swimming) designed to increase the quality and/or intensity of physical activity ( Fahey, Instel, & Roth 2002 ).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset