- Because of their new independent status as young adults, undergraduate college students are at a crucial point in the development of significant health behaviors, especially as related to physical activity. Unfortunately, in the United States, there is clear evidence that the lifestyle choices college students make are not always healthy ones (Li et al., 2012). For example, an estimated 20% of college students are completely sedentary, while an additional 40% are insufficiently active (Irwin, 2004). Moreover, physical activity levels decline from high school to college and beyond. For example, Cullen et al. (1999) reported a 62.5% reduction in physical activity levels between high school and college and, unfortunately, the drop is generally greater in the post-college years (Sparling & Snow, 2002). Some scholars have suggested that college level physical education curricula are the last major opportunity to provide information and behavior change skills that can enable healthy lifestyle habits throughout college and life (Sparling, 2003).
In this presentation I will:
1) Briefly review the history of required physical education in American higher
2) Provide an update on the status of the physical activity education requirement
and its rationale in the context of general education reform, the National
Physical Activity Plan, and other related initiatives.
3) Provoke discussion about the need for Physical Education (Kinesiology) and
Health Departments to re-prioritize physical activity education as being a central feature of their academic units, especially given the context of an
increasingly sedentary society.
4) Articulate the appropriate placement of physical activity education within the
General Education curriculum of colleges and universities.