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A conceptual physical education course and college freshmen’s health-related fitness

Jingwen Liu (Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA)
Rulan Shangguan (Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA)
Xiaofen D. Keating (Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA)
Jessica Leitner (Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA)
Yigang Wu (School of International Sport Cultural Exchange, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 3 January 2017

661

Abstract

Purpose

Conceptual physical education (CPE) classes have been widely offered to promote a healthy lifestyle in higher education settings. The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of a CPE course on health-related fitness (HRF) levels among college freshmen.

Design/methodology/approach

A pre- and post-test research design was used. In total, 50 freshmen in a US university were enrolled in a 13-week CPE course. Their HRF levels were assessed by the Fitnessgram at the beginning and the end of the course.

Findings

Students significantly enhanced their aerobic capacity, upper-body muscle strength and endurance, abdominal muscle strength and endurance, and decreased body fat percentage. No significant improvement in flexibility was found among the total sample. However, non-kinesiology students significantly enhanced their flexibility while the opposite trend was found among kinesiology students. Female students reduced more body fat percentage, while male students increased their aerobic capacity more rapidly than their female counterparts.

Practical implications

The CPE course could yield significant improvement in HRF among freshmen, regardless of sex or major. Universities may consider offering CPE courses for all students and mandate such courses as a degree requirement.

Originality/value

This empirical study investigated HRF level changes that occurred after a CPE course intervention among college freshmen. Sex and major difference in HRF changes were revealed. The interventions included in the CPE course could help improve freshmen's HRF levels in future intervention programs in a similar setting.

Keywords

Citation

Liu, J., Shangguan, R., Keating, X.D., Leitner, J. and Wu, Y. (2017), "A conceptual physical education course and college freshmen’s health-related fitness", Health Education, Vol. 117 No. 1, pp. 53-68. https://doi.org/10.1108/HE-01-2016-0002

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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