Impact of National Physical Activity and Health Guidelines and Documents on Research on Teaching K-12 Physical Education in U.S.A.

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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  • 1 Ohio State University
  • | 2 University of Minnesota–Twin Cities
  • | 1 East China Normal University
  • | 4 Texas A&M University
  • | 5 Wayne State University
  • | 6 Shanghai Ocean University
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This study examined the impact of published national physical activity (PA) and health guidelines, documents, and initiatives on the evolution of research on teaching K-12 physical education (PE) in U.S.A. from 1996 to October 2013.


A total of 262 peer-reviewed, data-based journal articles meeting our inclusion and exclusion criteria were identified through a comprehensive search. These articles were coded and the resulting data were analyzed.

Results and Discussions:

The findings showed that 41% (108 out of 262) of articles had cited these identified guidelines, documents and Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) reports. In particular, the most frequently cited documents were Healthy People documents, the 1996 Report of Surgeon General, and CDC reports and studies. The citation of these guidelines, documents and CDC reports fluctuated over the years. Our findings also showed that among the research studies citing these national documents and reports, 56% of them focused on students’ PA/fitness, while only a few studies focused on students’ psycho-motor skills and game performance. The majority of the studies reviewed were nonexperimental quantitative studies while 10% using randomized control trials or randomized group control trials design.


The results revealed a substantial proportion of articles cited national guidelines, initiatives and CDC study reports. These guidelines and documents have had some impact on the evolution of research on teaching K-12 PE.

Li is with the Department of Human Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Xiang is with Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. Gao is with the School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN. Shen is with the College of Education, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. Yin is with the School of Sports and Health, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China. Kong is with Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai, China.

Address author correspondence to Weidong Li at