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Barbara E. Ainsworth and Steven P. Hooker

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.

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Bradley J. Cardinal, Minsoo Kang, James L. Farnsworth II, and Gregory J. Welk

Kinesiology leaders were surveyed regarding their views of the (re)emergence of physical activity and public health. Their views were captured via a 25-item, online survey conducted in 2014. The survey focused on four areas: (a) types of affiliation with public health; (b) program options and course coverage; (c) outreach programming; and (d) perspectives on integration. Member and nonmember institutions of the American Kinesiology Association received the survey. Responses were received from 139 institutional leaders, resulting in an overall response rate of 21.4%. Key findings included that the combination of physical activity and public health was seen as both a stand-alone subdisciplinary area within kinesiology and also an area that has a great deal of potential for collaboration, the acquisition of external funding, and further strengthening of community outreach and engagement. The survey results are placed in historical context and interpreted with various caveats and limitations in mind.

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Lisa G. Johnson and Birgitta L. Baker

Louisiana State University’s School of Kinesiology has partnered with the Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Fitness Center in Baton Rouge, LA since 2003 offering our fitness studies concentration majors a unique service-learning experience. The center is located in a community with citizens battling many health issues, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, with limited access and resources that promote a heathy lifestyle. Students enrolled in a senior capstone course work with the community members in the Sensational Seniors fitness program. This fitness program addresses some of those needs by providing a variety of group exercise sessions promoting overall health and longevity for the participants. Our students are able to apply theoretical concepts learned in lectures and laboratories to address public health concerns in a real-life setting. The students lead group fitness activities, monitor blood pressures, and disseminate appropriate and updated health and exercise information for the seniors.

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Todd A. Gilson and Anthony Deldin

In the next 45 years it is estimated that individuals aged 65 and older will increase by 93% in the United States. This population will require a reexamination in thinking related to what retirement is and how seniors desire to maintain their quality of life. Thus, with this demographic shift, new career opportunities will be available for students in older adult fitness, and kinesiology graduates can be at the forefront of providing physical activity to promote public health. Through the exploration of an off-campus clinical exercise gerontology experience at Northern Illinois University, specifics of the program and potential barriers are discussed, with an eye toward assisting other institutions that wish to begin/enhance a similar program. Finally, benefits and future opportunities are highlighted showing how this partnership has led to an improved quality of life for seniors and strengthened relationships with the larger community.

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Patty Freedson, David M. Buchner, Russ Pate, Brad Hatfield, Loretta DiPietro, David A. Dzewaltowski, Tim Gavin, and Jeff Nessler

This paper provides an overview of several university programs that have integrated various aspects of public health into their kinesiology instruction, research, and outreach efforts. The summaries of these programs provide the historical context that shows the various stages of transformation of their kinesiology and exercise science programs over the last century. Examples of specific academic structural designs and curricula are described, as well as the rationale the faculty used to justify these programs. In addition, advantages, opportunities, and challenges of this integration are highlighted.

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David A. Dzewaltowski, Mary McElroy, Timothy I. Musch, David C. Poole, and Craig A. Harms

Kinesiology is an academic discipline with a body of content that can be drawn on to support professions and to solve important public health problems. The Kansas State Physical Activity Systems Framework defines a new approach to structure the discipline. Central to the framework is the rejection of a kinesiology subdisciplinary approach and the adoption of an integrated “cell-to-society” systems approach. Each level of physical activity systems is addressed in undergraduate and graduate education and research. Supporting the framework are two research and education teams: exercise physiology and exercise behavioral science. These teams provide core integrated academic discipline content expertise and expertise for integrating professional application areas, such as public health. The framework has evolved over 20 years at Kansas State University, where today the Department of Kinesiology delivers high-quality extramurally-funded research; BS, MS, MPH, and PhD programs; and outreach in a cost-effective manner.

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Danielle D. Wadsworth, Mary E. Rudisill, Jared A. Russell, James R. McDonald, and David D. Pascoe

The School of Kinesiology at Auburn University unites teaching, research, and outreach efforts to provide access to physical activity for local, statewide, and global communities. This paper provides a brief overview of the programs as well as strategies to mobilize efforts for physical activity outreach within an academic setting. School-wide efforts include youth initiatives, physical activity assessments offered through our TigerFit program, and the United States Olympic Team Handball training center. All programs provide service-learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students as well as outreach outcomes. Furthermore, the programs provide a platform for scholarship in the form of publications, partnerships for grant submissions, and student research projects. Merging teaching, outreach, and scholarship has provided longevity for the programs, thereby establishing long-term social ties to the community and providing continued access to physical activity to promote public health.

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Samuel W. Logan, E. Kipling Webster, Nancy Getchell, Karin A. Pfeiffer, and Leah E. Robinson

The purpose of this review is to synthesize the evidence of the relationship between fundamental motor skills (FMS) competence and physical activity by qualitatively describing results from 13 studies that met rigorous inclusion criteria. Inclusion criteria: (a) published in a peer-review journal, (b) participants were between the ages of 3–18, (c) participants were typically developing, (d) FMS was measured by a process-oriented assessment, (e) assessed physical activity, (f) related FMS and physical activity through statistical procedures, and (g) printed in English. Databases were searched for relevant articles using key terms related to FMS and physical activity. Evidence suggested low to moderate relationships between FMS competence and physical activity in early childhood (r = .16 to .48; R 2 = 3–23%, 4 studies), low to high relationships in middle to late childhood (r = .24 to .55; R 2 = 6–30%, 7 studies), and low to moderate relationships in adolescence (r = .14 to .35; R 2 = 2–12.3%, 2 studies). Across ages, object control skills and locomotor skills were more strongly related to physical activity for boys and girls, respectively. Future research should emphasize experimental and longitudinal research designs to provide further understanding of the relationship between FMS competence and physical activity.

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Timothy A. Brusseau, Sean M. Bulger, Eloise Elliott, James C. Hannon, and Emily Jones

This paper discusses lessons learned from the process of conducting community-based research with a focus on issues and topics of potential importance to leaders of departments of kinesiology. This paper is written from the perspective of physical education teacher education faculty implementing comprehensive school physical activity programming. Specifically, the paper focuses on the intersection of physical education and public health, the reconceptualization of training physical education teachers, related opportunities for community-engaged learning, and the process of relationship building in schools and communities. It is the authors’ intent that this paper will stimulate discussions relative to these topics among leaders of and faculty within kinesiology departments.