The Legacy of Physical Education: Influences on Adult Lifestyle

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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It is now well-established that well-designed programs can induce short-term gains in aerobic fitness, muscular strength, and physical performance, although during the primary school years, gains may be somewhat less than in adults. Long-term effects have as yet had little investigation. Most studies have looked simply at the tracking of activity patterns and associated lifestyle variables, usually from mid or late adolescence into early adult life. Although statistically significant, such tracking has been relatively weak. Further, in the absence of an experimental intervention, such studies provide little information on the long-term health value of physical education. The potential for obtaining definitive information is suggested by a long-term (20+ year) follow-up of participants in the Trois Rivières study. This program was well-perceived by participants, and the data obtained on adults suggest it may have had some favorable long-term impact on activity patterns, physiological parameters, and smoking behavior.

R.J. Shephard is with the Faculty of Physical Education and Health and the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A1, Canada. F. Trudeau is with the Département des sciences de l’activité physique at the Université de Québec, Trois-Rivières; Québec, G9A 5H7, Canada.

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