Unexpected Careers: My Environment Made Me Do Them

in Kinesiology Review

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Thomas L. McKenzie
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This essay describes how environmental conditions affected my unexpected evolution from farm life in a rural Canadian community to becoming a physical education specialist and multisport coach and eventually a U.S. kinesiology scholar with a public health focus. I first recount my life on the farm and initial education and then identify the importance of full- and part-time jobs relative to how they helped prepare me for a life in academia. Later, I summarize two main areas of academic work that extended beyond university campuses—the design and implementation of evidence-based physical activity programs and the development of systematic observation tools to assess physical activity and its associated contexts in diverse settings, including schools, parks, and playgrounds. I conclude with a section on people and locations to illustrate the importance of collaborations—essential components for doing field-based work. Without those connections, I would not have had such an extensive and diverse career.

The author (tmckenzi@sdsu.edu) is Emeritus Professor, School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA.

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  • Aubert, S., Barnes, J.D., Abdeta, C., Abi Nader, P., Adeniyi, A.F., Aguilar-Farias, N., … Tremblay, M.S. (2018). Global Matrix 3.0 physical activity report card grades for children and youth: Results and analysis from 49 countries. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 15(Suppl. 2), S251S273. PubMed ID: 30475137 https://doi.org/10.1123/jpah.2018-0472

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  • Buono, M.J., McKenzie, T.L., & McKenzie, R.E. (1988). Effects of a diet and exercise program on blood lipids, cardiorespiratory function, and body composition in obese women. Clinical Kinesiology, 42(1), 2226.

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  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Increasing physical education and physical activity: A framework for schools. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/pdf/2019_04_25_PE PA-Framework_508tagged.pdf

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  • Chow, B., McKenzie, T.L., & Sit, C.H.P. (2016). Public parks in Hong Kong: Characteristics of physical activity areas and their users. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(7), 639. PubMed ID: 27367709 https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13070639

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  • Cohen, D.A., Han, B., Derose, K.B., Williamson, S., Marsh, T., & McKenzie, T.L. (2013). Physical activity in parks: A randomized controlled trial using community engagement. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 45(5), 590597. PubMed ID: 24139772 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2013.06.015

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  • Cohen, D.A., Han, B., Derose, K.P., Williamson, S., Marsh, T., Raaen, L., & McKenzie, T.L. (2017). Promoting physical activity in high-poverty neighborhood parks: A cluster randomized control trial. Social Science & Medicine, 186, 130138. PubMed ID: 28645058 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.06.001

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  • Cohen, D.A., Han, B., Nagel, C., Harnik, P., McKenzie, T.L., Evenson, K.R., … Katta, S. (2016). The first national study of neighborhood parks: Implications for physical activity. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 51(4), 419426. PubMed ID: 27209496 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2016.03.021

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  • Cohen, D.A., Han, B., Williamson, S., Nagel, C, McKenzie, T.L., Evenson, K.R., & Harnik, P. (2020). Playground features and physical activity in U.S. neighborhood parks. Preventive Medicine, 131, 105945. PubMed ID: 31805315 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.105945

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  • Cohen, D.A., McKenzie, T.L., Sehgal, A., Williamson, S., Golinelli, D., & Lurie, N. (2007). Contribution of public parks to physical activity. American Journal of Public Health, 97(3), 509514. PubMed ID: 17267728 https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2005.072447

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  • Cohen, D.A., Williamson, S., Sehgal, A., Marsh, T., & McKenzie, T.L. (2009). Effects of park improvements on park use and physical activity: Policy and programming implications. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 37(6), 475480. PubMed ID: 19944911 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2009.07.017

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  • Evenson, K., Jones, S., Holliday, K., Cohen, D., & McKenzie, T.L. (2016). Park characteristics, use, and physical activity: A review of studies using SOPARC (System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities). Preventive Medicine, 86, 153166. PubMed ID: 26946365 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.02.029

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  • Gipson, M., Lowe, S., & McKenzie, T.L. (1994). Sport psychology: Improving performance. In C. McGown (Ed.), The science of coaching volleyball (pp. 2345). Human Kinetics.

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  • Gipson, M., McKenzie, T.L., & Lowe, S. (1989). The sport psychology program of the USA Women’s National Volleyball Team. The Sport Psychologist, 3(4), 330339. https://doi.org/10.1123/tsp.3.4.330

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  • Kahan, D., & McKenzie, T.L. (2020). Website representations of physical education and physical activity: Comparison of public charter and private schools. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 90, 712719. https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2020.1761934

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  • Kahan, D., McKenzie, T.L. & Fedoriouk, R. (2021). North American Jewish Day Schools’ online promotion of physical education. Health Behavior and Policy Review, 8(1), 2839. https://doi.org/10.14485/HBPR.8.1.3

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  • Katzmarzyk, P.T., Denstel, K.D., Beals, K., Carlson, J., Crouter, S.E, McKenzie, T.L., … Wright, C. (2018). Results from the United States 2018 report card on physical activity for children and youth. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 15(Suppl. 2), S422S424. PubMed ID: 30475143 https://doi.org/10.1123/jpah.2018-0476

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  • Lounsbery, M.A.F., & McKenzie, T.L. (2015). Physically literate and physically educated: A rose by any other name? Journal of Sport and Health Science, 4(2), 139144. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2015.02.002

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  • Lounsbery, M.A.F., & McKenzie, T.L. (2020). American Kinesiology Association’s role in promoting school physical activity policy. Kinesiology Review, 9(4), 313318. https://doi.org/10.1123/kr.2020-0029

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  • Lounsbery, M.A.F., McKenzie, T.L., & Smith, N.J. (2019). School physical activity policies. The Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, 4(17), 173178.

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  • MacPhail, A., & Lawson, H.A. (Eds.). (2020). School physical education and teacher education: Collaborative redesign for the twenty-first century. Routledge.

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  • McKenzie, T.L. (1986a). A behaviorally-oriented residential camping program for obese children and adolescents. Education and Treatment of Children, 9(1), 3846.

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  • McKenzie, T.L. (1986b). Analysis of the practice behavior of elite athletes. In M. Pieron & G. Graham (Eds.), Sport pedagogy (pp. 117121). Human Kinetics.

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  • McKenzie, T.L. (2016). Context matters: Systematic observation of place-based physical activity. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 87(4), 334341. PubMed ID: 27749158 https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2016.1234302

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  • McKenzie, T.L. (2019). Physical activity within school contexts: The bigger bang theory. Kinesiology Review, 8(1), 4853. https://doi.org/10.1123/kr.2018-0057

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  • McKenzie, T.L. (2020). Assessing school physical education and physical activity programs: Selected tools. In R. Carson & C. Webster (Eds.), Comprehensive school physical activity programs: Putting research into evidence-based practice (Chapter 17, pp. 247260). Human Kinetics.

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  • McKenzie, T.L., Clark, E.K., & McKenzie, R.E. (1984). Instructional Strategies: Influence on teacher and student behavior. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 3(2), 2028. https://doi.org/10.1123/jtpe.3.2.20

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  • McKenzie, T.L., Cohen, D.A., Sehgal, A., Williamson, S., & Golinelli, D. (2006). System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC): Reliability and feasibility measures. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 3(Suppl. 1), S208S222. PubMed ID: 28834508 https://doi.org/10.1123/jpah.3.s1.s208

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  • McKenzie, T.L., & Liskevych, T.N. (1983). Using the multielement baseline design to examine motivation in volleyball training. In G. Martin & D. Hrycaiko (Eds.), Behavior modification and coaching: Principles, procedures, and research (pp. 203212).Charles C. Thomas.

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  • McKenzie, T.L., Marshall, S.J., Sallis, J.F., & Conway, T.L. (2000). Leisure time physical activity in school environments: An observational study using SOPLAY. Preventive Medicine, 30(1), 7077. PubMed ID: 10642462 https://doi.org/10.1006/pmed.1999.0591

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  • McKenzie, T.L., & Rushall, B.S. (1973). The neglect of reinforcement theory in physical education. Canadian Journal of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, 39(5), 1317.

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  • McKenzie, T.L., & Rushall, B.S. (1974). Effects of self-recording on attendance and performance in a competitive swimming environment. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 7(2), 199206. PubMed ID: 4436167 https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.1974.7-199

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  • McKenzie, T.L., & Rushall, B.S. (1980). Controlling inappropriate behaviors in a competitive swimming environment. Education and Treatment of Children, 3, 205216.

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  • McKenzie, T.L., Sallis, J.F., & Nader, P.R. (1991). SOFIT: System for observing fitness instruction time. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 11(2), 195205. https://doi.org/10.1123/jtpe.11.2.195

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  • McKenzie, T.L., Sallis, J.F., Nader, P.R., Patterson, T.L., Elder, J.P., Berry, C.C., … Nelson, J.A. (1991). BEACHES: An observational system for assessing children’s eating and physical activity behaviors and associated events. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 24(1), 141151. PubMed ID: 2055797 https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.1991.24-141

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  • McKenzie, T.L., Sallis, J.F., Rosengard, P.R., & Ballard, K. (2016). The SPARK Programs: A public health model of physical education research and dissemination. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 35(4), 381389. https://doi.org/10.1123/jtpe.2016-0100

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  • McKenzie, T.L., & Smith, N.J. (2017). Studies of physical education in the United States using SOFIT: A Review. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 88(4), 492502. PubMed ID: 29064778 https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2017.1376028

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  • McKenzie, T.L., & van der Mars, H. (2015). Top 10 research questions related to assessing physical activity and its contexts using systematic observation. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 86(1), 1329. PubMed ID: 25664670 https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2015.991264

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  • Piercy, K.L., Troiano, R.P., Ballard, R.M., Carlson, S.A., Fulton, J.E., Galuska, D.A., … Olson, R.D. (2018). The physical activity guidelines for Americans. Journal of the American Medical Association, 320(19), 20202028. PubMed ID: 30418471 https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2018.14854

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  • Sallis, J., & McKenzie, T.L. (1991). Physical education’s role in public health. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 62(2), 124137. PubMed ID: 1925034 https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.1991.10608701

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  • Sallis, J.F., McKenzie, T.L., Beets, M.W., Beighle, A.H., Erwin, H., & Lee, S. (2012). Physical education’s role in public health: Steps forward and backward over 20 years and HOPE for the Future. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 83(2), 125135. PubMed ID: 22808697 https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2012.10599842

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  • Sallis, J.F., McKenzie, T.L., Conway, T.L., Elder, J.P., Prochaska, J.J., Brown, M., … Alcaraz, J.E. (2003). Environmental interventions for eating and physical activity: A randomized controlled trial in middle schools. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 24(3), 209217. PubMed ID: 12657338 https://doi.org/10.1016/S0749-3797(02)00646-3

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  • Sit, C.F.P., & McKenzie, T.L. (2020). School physical activity for children with disabilities. In T. Brusseau, S. Fairclough, & D. Lubans (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of youth physical activity (pp. 593602). Routledge.

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  • Sit, C.H.P., Li, R., McKenzie, T.L., Cerin, E., Wong, S., Sum, R., & Leung, E. (2019). Physical activity of children with disabilities at home and school: Associations with environmental and behavioral variables. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(8), 1394. PubMed ID: 30999710 https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16081394

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  • Smith, N.J., McKenzie, T.L., & Hammons, A.J. (2019). International studies of physical education using SOFIT: A review. Advances in Physical Education, 9(1), 5374. https://doi.org/10.4236/ape.2019.91005

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  • Talarowski, M., Awomolo, O., Cohen, D.A., McKenzie, T.L., Han, B., & Williamson, S. (2020, September). SOMAD report: Systematic observation of mask adherence & distancing. Philadelphia, PA: Studio Ludo. https://www.scribd.com/document/476299039/Mask-Study-Philadelphia-Report

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  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical activity guidelines for Americans (2nd ed.). U.S. Government Printing Office.

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  • van der Mars, H., & McKenzie, T.L. (2020). Direct observation: Assessing youth physical activity and its contexts. In T. Brusseau, S. Fairclough, & D. Lubans (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of youth physical activity (pp. 288316). Routledge.

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  • World Health Organization. (2018). Global action plan on physical activity 2018–2030: More active people for a healthier world. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241514187

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