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Advancing the physical activity curriculum at the collegiate level

Bradley (BJ) Warren (Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA)
Eleanor Odenheimer Brin (Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




The purpose of this paper is to assess college students’ pre- and post- health-related, fitness levels, as determined by the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) five components of fitness, in a one-credit, graded college course and to objectively measure any differences between those pre- and post- health-related fitness levels.


In a field setting, the investigators conducted health-related, fitness assessments using the ACSM validated protocols. In addition, descriptive statistics were collected including demographic information, such as, age and sex.


Paired-sample t tests were used to calculate the pre- and post-test scores for six fitness- and health-related categories across four semesters. There were statistically significant (p<0.001) improvements in six different areas in each of the four semesters with the exception of the resting heart rate and VO2 Max measurements in the fall semester of 2014.


This study builds upon the current body of work tracking trends in physical activity, college courses. The results answer health promotion scientists’ call for more research on the implementation and evaluation of programmatic interventions (Domitrovich and Greendberg, 2000; Durlack, 1998; Durlak and DuPre, 2008) “in real-world settings in order to understand if and how an intervention works” (Søvik et al., 2016, p. 238). This results in addressing a research gap in assessing the effectiveness of physical activity courses in higher education (Keating et al., 2005).



Warren, B.(B). and Odenheimer Brin, E. (2017), "Advancing the physical activity curriculum at the collegiate level", Health Education, Vol. 117 No. 4, pp. 372-381.



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