Other Scholarly Content


Bringing research to practice, returning to our roots: 
A case for required physical education in higher education Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF


Attribute NameValues
  • 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). Purpose In this presentation I will: 1) Briefly review the history of required physical education in American higher education. 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.
Resource Type
Date Issued
  • Cardinal, B. J. (2012). Bringing research to practice, returning to our roots: 
A case for required physical education in higher education. Proceedings: 2nd Institute of Physical Education International Conference 2012. Bangkok, Thailand: Institute of Physical Education, Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
Conference Name
Conference Location
  • Bangkok, Thailand
Academic Affiliation
Rights Statement
Peer Reviewed
Additional Information
  • Keynote presentation at the 2nd Institute of Physical Education International Conference 2012: Application of Modern Technology and Innovation to Enhance Human Performance, Health and Quality of Life. Bangkok, Thailand, August 29-31, 2012.



This work has no parents.