Academic Journal Article Assignment
The article I chose was titled “Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Self-Perception Changes Related to a University “Lifetime Fitness for Health” Curriculum”. The article is part of the Journal named “Physical Educator”. The introduction of the article talks about the problems faced by many undergraduate students related to health, fitness and personal confidence. The authors talk about the affect of the Lifetime Fitness for Health curriculum (LFH) on students. To determine whether or not benefits are derived from such a curriculum, many professors from various universities and colleges conducted a study. The authors in the article are trying to argue in favor of the LFH curriculum, believing that it truly has significant impacts on college students. The goal for the study was to gain evidence and therefore prove to students that they should participate in a health curriculum.
A total of twenty undergraduate students participated in the study, which lasted one year. Each participant enrolled in a 10-week course that had a 100-minute lecture and lab every week. Once students finished the course, they participated in multiple interviews about their experiences. Judging from the interviews, the study was a success. In the category of general fitness and a healthy lifestyle, students who were interviewed believed that the course helped them learn the importance of health and fitness. Not only did they believe it was important to exercise more, but they also learned about food choices and portion sizes. The researchers were also happy to hear that the students applied their new knowledge not only to themselves, but to their friends and family as well.
Short-term, the study showed that students began to make better decisions for their health. For example, the article tells how a student does not drive her car to campus anymore, but walks instead. Another student was excited to tell about his new eating habits such as choosing fruits and vegetables over foods that are not as healthy. For the professors involved, the study was a success and they proved that a required fitness course for undergraduates prepares students to make choices that will lead to a healthier, fitter lifestyle.
When I was searching for an article on my topic, I found many different sources, but none were what I was looking for. Many of the articles that I found talked about obesity in college students and the freshman fifteen. Although those topics are quite relevant to my paper, I was searching for facts and studies that would prove my argument. Finally, after more searching, I was happy to find an article that talked about fitness curriculums for students. The article also had many statistics and a complete study proving that health courses benefit students enrolled in them.
As a health and exercise science major, I have learned about the benefits of health and fitness courses on students. Originally, I had only thought of the courses to benefit students physically and with their dietary habits. However, this article helped me see a third perspective. One of the main focuses in the article was self-perception. As a result of the LFH curriculum, students gained a better self-perception. In the example given, a student gained confidence to work out in the fitness facilities after the class had a tour. According to the article, students also became aware of the poor health and fitness decisions. The course motivated them to become better stewards of their health.
The article was a great find for me, and I plan to use it in my paper to show the short and long term benefits gained from the a successful health curriculum. I would like to make use of the statistics the article provided, as well as quote the students from their interviews as they discussed what they learned from the class. The article also provided a long list of sources used, and I plan to search for some of the sources for further information and evidence to prove my argument.
I. Introduction: The article starts off discussing that college students are at a critical point in their lives, especially pertaining to health and fitness. The introduction also defines the purpose of the study completed with undergraduates.
A. “The purpose of this study was to qualitatively determine whether participation in a Lifetime Fitness for Health (LFH) curriculum in college had short-term and long-term benefits with regard to physical activity behaviors, nutrition behaviors, and self-concept.”
B. The article explained what the study was for, where it took place and how it was conducted.
a. Pacific Northwest Region on the U.S.
b. 20 undergraduate students
c. Students completed a LFH course and 6 interviews were conducted 10 weeks and 1 year after.
II. Next, the article provides facts to grasp the reader’s attention so they will continue reading.
A. “One study found that physical activity levels declined 62.5% during the transition from high school to college (Cullen et al., 1999).”
B. “For example, only 43.6% of the 34,208 college students surveyed by the American College Health Association (ACHA, 2009) met the adult physical activity recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association (Haskell et al., 2007).”
III. Thesis: After the explanation of the experiment, the thesis is stated: “To address many of the concerns related to college students’ physical activity and nutrition behaviors, college curricula that facilitate the development of positive health practices on a large-scale basis are needed (Kupchella, 2009; Sparling, 2003).”
IV. Outline Argument:
A. Theme 1: Awareness and Knowledge of General Fitness and Nutrition
“It was apparent that students in the course learned useful facts, shared their newfound knowledge with others outside of the class, and took a closer look at themselves, as well as their families, in terms of health indicators and behaviors.”
B. Theme 2: Short-Term Benefits in Physical Activity Levels and Nutrition Behaviors
“11 participants spoke to the importance of the personal nutrition journaling and the dietary analysis lab assignment; specifically, they recalled how it encouraged them to further consider the concepts of energy balance, weight management, and healthful food choices.”
C. Theme 3: Long-Term Changes in Physical Activity and Nutrition Behaviors
“The sentiment was expressed that being exposed to the course at the start of college allowed students to establish good habits while in college that might help counter the inherent challenges associated with maintaining a healthy lifestyle upon graduating.”
D. Theme 4: Benefits in Self-Perceptions
A key benefit of the course was evident in terms of the confidence the participants gained from the course content. For example, participants mentioned how helpful it was to tour the recreation facility on campus as part of a laboratory experience so they did not have to avoid the facility for fear of not knowing how to use the equipment and appearing foolish
VI. Conclusion: The conclusion summed up the results of the study, proving their argument that LFH courses impact students in a positive way.
“..in this sample, students also became more physically active, more aware of the nutritional choices they were making in their day-to-day lives, and gained a deeper understanding of the relationship between these behaviors and their psychological health.”