Promoting Physical Activity Education Through General Education: Looking Back and Moving Forward

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Concerns about college and university student health date back to at least the mid-19th century. These concerns were addressed through the development and implementation of required, service-based physical activity education programs. In the 1920s–1930s, 97% of American colleges and universities offered such programs. Today less than 40% do. However, student health issues persist. This essay asserts that kinesiology departments are best suited to address these needs by delivering physical activity education courses through their institution’s general education curriculum. General education courses are those that every student must take in order to develop the competencies necessary for living a full and complete life and contributing to society. Given the growing costs of higher education, any such requirement must be justifiable. Therefore, implementing and sustaining a physical activity education general education requirement is not for the faint of heart; it requires effort, resources, support, and time. This essay explores these issues.

The author (Brad.Cardinal@oregonstate.edu) is with the Kinesiology Program, School of Biological and Population Health Sciences, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA.

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