Experiencing risk, surveillance, and prosumption: health and physical education students’ perceptions of digitised health and physical activity data

Bonnie Pang, Valeria Varea, Sarah Cavallin, Alexia Cupac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)


Digital technologies are now considered important in shaping young people's engagement in and with health and physical activity. Recent discussions show that the use of digital technologies to track health and fitness may over-emphasize the linear understanding of the body and health generally underpinned by Western health ideologies such as healthism. Other studies have shown the increased use of digital technologies in teaching Health and Physical Education (HPE) and as a means to enhance health and increase physical activity. Despite the opportunities and risks apparent in these studies, little is known about how HPE students make choices, negotiate, and resist or embrace the digitalisation of physical activity, exercise, and more broadly health. This study examines HPE students’ meaning making of risk and surveillance associated with the self-digitisation of exercise. The study further investigates how the concept of ‘prosumption’; the production, curation and consumption of self-data within the context of digitised health and physical activity, is understood. Based on the findings, we have constructed a typology of prosumers that can be used as a pedagogical device to illustrate the various kinds of subject positions students take up with digital technology in health and physical activity. This study extends the current understanding of prosumers by identifying the ‘ambivalent prosumer’. The results provide insights that have direct pedagogical implications in HPE teacher education specifically in the areas of knowledge production and consumption of knowledge through digital technology in health and physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-813
Number of pages13
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number8
Early online date23 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Western Sydney University [School of Science and Health Catalysing Innovative]. The authors would like to thank Professor Tony Rossi for providing valuable and constructive feedback to improve the quality of the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Digital technologies
  • health and physical activity
  • health and physical education
  • prosumption
  • surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Education


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