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Alison M. Wrynn

This article examines the past, present, and future of historical research in sport and physical education. Due to time and space limitations, the focus is on work that has emerged and is emerging in North America—particularly the United States—but it must be noted there are very active sport historians throughout the world; in departments of kinesiology, history, and American studies. This article covers two broad categories: the past to the present and the present to the future of research in sport history. Within these two sections, there is also an analysis of changes in the conduct of research by historians as this has had, and will continue to have, a major impact on the kinds of work that will be produced in the future.

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Catherine D. Ennis

As typically taught, sport-based, multiactivity approaches to physical education provide students with few opportunities to increase their skill, fitness, or understanding. Alternative curriculum models, such as Sport Education, Teaching Games for Understanding, and Fitness for Life, represent a second generation of models that build on strong statements of democratic, student-centered practice in physical education. In the What Goes Around section of the paper, I discuss the U.S. perspective on the origins of alternative physical education curriculum models introduced in the early and mid-20th century as a response to sport and exercise programs of the times. Today, with the help of physical educators, scholars are conducting research to test new curricular alternatives or prototypes to provide evidence-based support for these models. Yet, the multiactivity, sport-based curriculum continues to dominate in most U.S. physical education classes. I discuss reasons for this dogged persistence and propose reforms to disrupt this pervasive pattern in the future.

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David A. Dzewaltowski and Richard R. Rosenkranz

Positive youth development (PYD) is an emerging area of study and practice that targets fostering the assets of young people to avoid problem behaviors and excel in meeting diverse life challenges. This paper describes how PYD evolved from treating problem behaviors to preventing problem behaviors in at-risk youth, to more recently helping all youth thrive and excel in numerous domains. Although evidence to inform community policy and practice has emerged, there is a lack of consensus on how to define PYD, and this lack of consensus has impacted progress in PYD physical activity behavioral science. This paper recommends PYD physical activity behavioral science reject disciplinary boundaries and (a) examine the nature of person-environment interaction in the context of physical activity as the primary outcome, (b) target big-picture physical activity outcome questions, and (c) come to a consensus on the domains of physical activity behavioral science research competencies.

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Mindy Millard-Stafford, Jeffrey S. Becasen, Michael W. Beets, Allison J. Nihiser, Sarah M. Lee, and Janet E. Fulton

A systematic review of literature was conducted to examine the association between changes in health-related fitness (e.g., aerobic capacity and muscular strength/endurance) and chronic disease risk factors in overweight and/or obese youth. Studies published from 2000–2010 were included if the physical activity intervention was a randomized controlled trial and reported changes in fitness and health outcomes by direction and significance (p < .05) of the effect. Aerobic capacity improved in 91% and muscular fitness improved in 82% of measures reported. Nearly all studies (32 of 33) reported improvement in at least one fitness test. Changes in outcomes related to adiposity, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, metabolic, and mental/emotional health improved in 60%, 32%, 53%, 41%, and 33% of comparisons studied, respectively. In conclusion, overweight and obese youth can improve physical fitness across a variety of test measures. When fitness improves, beneficial health effects are observed in some, but not all chronic disease risk factors.

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Dale A. Ulrich and Janet L. Hauck

The purpose of this article is to discuss the growing problem of very early onset of obesity occurring before two years of age and to review infant motor development, physical activity, and effective pediatric disability motor interventions that may offer potential strategies to help reduce this growing problem earlier in life. Based on the review of physical activity interventions used with infants with a disability, we will propose strategies to consider to program early physical activity exposures into nondisabled young infants who are at risk for obesity. These proposed physical activity strategies will need to be combined with successful public health approaches to reducing early onset of obesity during infancy. Lucas (1991) conceived the term programming referring to permanent or extended effects of an environmental exposure occurring during a sensitive developmental period. In this paper, we propose that a very sensitive period for early onset of obesity is the first six months of postnatal life. If innovative strategies to increase the frequency of daily exposures to physical activity in young infants can be identified, these strategies could be combined with current public health approaches to preventing obesity in women before, during, and following pregnancy. Given the complexity of the obesity problem, no single strategy for prevention should be expected to be very successful.