Course Profile

KNES 400: The Foundations of Public Health in Kinesiology

Redesigned by Dr. Shannon Jette, this is a core course for Kinesiology majors in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland College Park. Unique to this approach is the integration of social theory with traditional approaches to public health, centering discussions of cultural context to understand disparities in health outcomes. In Fall 2018 we were successful in procuring a Teaching and Learning Transformation Center seed grant, and were able to implement a specialized workshop called “Embodied Brainstorming.”

Course Description

This course provides students with a broad introduction to the core principles and goals of public health from a kinesiological perspective. Topics to be addressed include: history of public health and physical activity; basic principles of the epidemiology of physical activity; correlates and determinants of physical activity and health; public health interventions aimed at encouraging regular physical activity and other lifestyle-related behaviors; social justice and physical activity; the impact of social, political and economic contexts on health, physical activity, as well as health disparities; and the significance of health systems and health policy on the physical activity and health of populations. Exploration of these topics within the context of kinesiology will provide students with a more nuanced understanding of the relation of physical activity to public health, health disparities, and the prevention and treatment of chronic disease.

THREE (3) Units with ELEVEN (I – XI) Modules:

  1. Introduction to Public Health

I. The Landscape of Public Health

II. Epidemiology

III. The Biology of Disadvantage

  • Determinants of Physical Activity and Health

IV.  Intra- and Inter-personal Determinants of PA

V. Neighborhoods as a Determinant of PA

VI. Policy & PA

  • Critical Issues in Public Health … and PA Solutions

VII. Interventions – an overview        

VIII. Race, ethnicity and nationality

IX.  Gender and Sexuality

X. PA, Mental Health, and Adaptive Populations

XI.  Evaluation

Overarching Course Learning Objectives:

  • Apply social theory to examples of health and physical activity across a variety of contexts and populations
  • Locate and analyze physical activity experiences and opportunities within systems of privilege and oppression

Course Format

  • Traditional lecture style 50 minutes (twice weekly)
  • Discussion sections 50 minutes (weekly)

Learning Assessments

  • Weekly Quizzes (12)
  • Minor Writing Assignments (2)
  • Major Writing Assignments (2)
  • Participation (15% of total grade)
  • Final Exam (in class and take home)
  • Embodied Brainstorming Workshop  
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