The Impact the Amount of High School Physical Education Has on the Physical Activity Habits of Traditional College Freshmen

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Thompson, Aaron
high school; physical education classes; reduced; eliminated; No Child Left Behind; college freshmen; physically active; Curriculum and Instruction; Curriculum and Social Inquiry; Higher Education; Secondary Education and Teaching
thesis / dissertation description
Many states have reduced or eliminated high school physical education classes due to budget cuts and the passage of No Child Left Behind. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the relationship between the number of years of physical education students received in high school and the traditional college freshmen’s current level of physical activities. The short form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and additional demographic questions were used electronically to collect cross-sectional PA data from traditional college freshmen at a private Christian liberal arts university in the Midwest. After cleaning and processing the collected data, the sample consisted of 155 participants. Correlational analysis included Pearson Chi Square, One-Way ANOVA, and Two-Way ANOVA statistical tests utilizing SPSS software. Results of the study found that students who received seven or eight semesters of high school physical education were the most physically active, and students who received no high school physical education were the least physically active. However, no significant relationships were found between the amount of high school physical education received and physical activity habits. Significant relationships were found between gender, race, and those who participated on an interscholastic varsity sport and those who did not. Significant relationships were not found between commuter and residential students and students who received an exemption and/or substitution from physical education and those who did not. Future studies should expand the scope of the existing study by examining nontraditional college students, individuals who entered the workforce right after high school, and attitudes towards physical activity.