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Peter R. Giacobbi Jr., Matthew P. Buman, Kimberly J. Romney, Monica R. Klatt, and Mari J. Stoddard

The purpose of this review was to evaluate the scope, impact, and methods of research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in kinesiology departments. Information was obtained from university websites, the Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT), PubMed, Google Scholar, and Journal Citation Reports (JCR) from the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) Web of Knowledge. Abstracts from 2,227 published studies funded by the NIH were reviewed. The National Institute on Aging funded the largest portion of grants. Metabolic functioning, the nervous system, pathology, and cardiovascular diseases were the major foci. Human and animal studies were predominantly discovery-oriented (e.g., comparative studies, clinical research) with a large percentage of translational approaches. Recommendations for interdisciplinary research are provided.

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Debra J. Rose

The discipline of kinesiology has the potential to make significant contributions to the study of fall-related disability and the advancement of national initiatives aimed at reducing disability in the older adult population. Theoretical frameworks routinely used to guide research across the subdisciplines of kinesiology could and should be applied to the study of fall-related disability and the development of movement-based interventions aimed at improving balance and gait and thereby reducing fall incidence rates and/or injury that contributes to premature morbidity and mortality. Current research findings suggest the need for a stronger focus on the learning or relearning of skilled movement patterns and/or cognitive strategies than currently exists in the falls intervention literature. As a profession, kinesiology is uniquely positioned to play an important role in advancing the goals of the Falls Free© national initiative given the important role that exercise plays in the reduction of fall-related disability and mortality.

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Joseph Hamill, George Gorton, and Peter Masso

Biomechanics is defined as the application of the laws of mechanics to the study or structure and function of movement. It is a relatively new subdiscipline to the domain of kinesiology. Biomechanics was initially closely associated with the study of sports technique. However, over the years, biomechanics has taken on a much more diverse field of study. In this paper, we will describe the contributions that biomechanics has made to the area of clinical biomechanics research in terms of clinical assessment and outcomes and the design of clinical apparatus. The first example examines a clinical assessment of a cerebral palsy child. The goals of such a clinical assessment are 1) to determine the primary problems with the locomotion capabilities of the individual, 2) to recommend treatment options, and 3) to evaluate treatment outcomes. In the second example, a procedure is described for designing braces for scoliosis patients. For this example, a three-dimensional digital twin is developed using a scanning technique. This example illustrates the research conducted on developing a technique to noninvasively and safely determine the torso deformities resulting from scoliosis. While these examples are but two of a wide variety of examples that could be used, they illustrate the contribution of biomechanics to the clinical world.

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Douglas R. Anderson

I argue here that we, as a culture, are allowing physical play and playful movement to die. Following Friedrich Schiller, I argue for the importance of physical play for a liberated life. I call on those in the field of kinesiology to consider revising our cultural habits through the teaching of play not by way of abstract concepts but by way of playful experiences.

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David R. Bassett Jr.

The built environment has profound effects on physical activity and health. Many communities in the US are built around the automobile, with little consideration given to pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users. These places tend to have higher rates of physical inactivity (defined as “no leisure time physical activity”) and higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. However, in some European countries and selected US cities, communities have been constructed in ways that encourage active modes of transportation. In these places, a large segment of the population meets physical activity guidelines, due in part to the activity they acquire in performing daily tasks. In addition to promoting active transportation, these environments promote recreational walking, jogging, and cycling. Kinesiologists can and should work with urban planners, transportation officials, developers, public health practitioners, and the general public to design cities in ways that enhance physical activity and health.

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Ronald F. Zernicke, Grant C. Goulet, Peter R. Cavanagh, Benno M. Nigg, James A. Ashton-Miller, Heather A. McKay, and Ton van den Bogert

As a field, biomechanics comprises research from the molecular and cellular levels, to tissues, to organs, to organisms and their movements. In the past 50 years, the impact of biomechanics research on society has been amplified dramatically. Here, we provide five brief summaries of exemplar biomechanics results that have had substantial impact on health and our society, namely 1) spaceflight and microgravitational effects on musculoskeletal health; 2) impact forces, soft tissue vibrations, and skeletal muscle tuning affecting human locomotion; 3) childbirth mechanics, injuries, and pelvic floor dysfunction; 4) prescriptive physical activity in childhood to enhance skeletal growth and development to prevent osteoporotic fractures in adulthood and aging; and 5) creative innovations in technology that have transformed the visual arts and entertainment.

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Richard P. Troiano

The following article was the Rainer and Julie Martens Invited Lecture given at the National Academy of Kinesiology, September 2011. The federal government has a demonstrated interest in the health benefits of physical activity. A major milestone in federal interest was the publication of the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Other federal efforts, such as the National Prevention Strategy and the Lets Move! initiative, seek to translate the science in the Guidelines into action at multiple levels of society. Federal interest is also demonstrated through the range of physical activity research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This paper describes research resources and examples of research funded by several NIH institutes with the intent to enhance the ability of members of the National Academy of Kinesiology to have a positive impact on society by advancing the science, as well as promoting and facilitating the many and diverse benefits of human movement.

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Bradley D. Hatfield

The relevance of kinesiology to the major issues of public health facing the nation is increasing with time. Of great importance is the area of exercise neuroscience in which remarkable developments have occurred in the past 35 years. The primary investigative efforts to date have been devoted to the impact of exercise on normal brain aging and recent efforts have also focused on the neurocognitive benefit to brain development in children. However, little work has been conducted in those with neurological disorders. The literature includes a number of animal studies that offer biological plausibility for the positive influence of exercise observed on brain structure and cognition in normal human subjects and, collectively, these studies provide a foundation on which to examine the role of exercise treatment in some of the major brain disorders that afflict adults and children today. These include the dementias, stroke, traumatic brain disorder (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and attentional deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A role for exercise in building resilience to such disorders is discussed here that may assist in reducing the financial and emotional burden of these affictions.

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Roberta Rikli

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Daniel J. Weeks

This paper, presented as the C. Lynn Vendien International Lecture given at the National Academy of Kinesiology, September 2011, provides context around the concept of accountability, the roles of the Academy, and knowledge translation as the basis for a framework for continued development of the National Academy of Kinesiology. The intent is to use the concepts presented in this paper as a catalyst for further discussion on opportunities for the Academy to serve the field of kinesiology as a knowledge broker and champion in addressing matters of important societal importance. Disability is used as an example of one such immediate opportunity.