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The health-enhancing benefits of regular physical activity have been theorized for thousands of years. Within the past 25 years, public health agencies, health-related organizations, and health-focused foundations have recognized regular physical activity as a major factor in preventing premature morbidity and mortality. Colleges and universities have experienced a paradigm shift in applying public health strategies to prepare graduates in understanding how to reduce the impact of sedentary lifestyles on health outcomes. For nearly 20 years, some kinesiology departments have expanded from traditional curricula to new courses and degrees in promoting physical activity in the community, the application of epidemiology concepts to physical activity, and the study of policy and environmental approaches to promoting physical activity. Given the high prevalence of physical activity insufficient to prevent premature morbidity and mortality, continuing educational efforts are needed to assure kinesiology students have the skills and information needed to promote physical activity in communities to people of all ages and abilities.
Ainsworth and Hooker are with the Exercise Science and Health Promotion Program, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ.