Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Health Promotion


Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management

First Advisor

Paul D. Loprinzi

Second Advisor

Toshikazu Ikuta

Third Advisor

Allison Ford-Wade

Relational Format



The Exercise is Medicine (EiM) initiative and the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) are structured to promote an increase of physical activity at the population level. The primary vision of the EiM initiative is the assessment and prescription of exercise in a primary care clinical setting. The NPAP is a document presenting evidenced-based strategies and tactics across 8 different societal sectors that create opportunity for increased physical activity. Both initiatives offer valuable strategies in promoting physical activity among American citizens. However, little empirical research on these initiatives has been evaluated. Study I is entitled,Perceptions of the Exercise is Medicine®Initiative in a Geographically-Defined Population: Implications for Effective Physical Activity Promotion into Clinical Practice. The primary objective of this study was to examine people’s perception of the Exercise is Medicine®(EiM) initiative and factors that influence accurate perceptions of EiM. Specifically, we explored the perceptions and determinants of these perceptions among three distinct subpopulations including the general ‘patient’ population, primary care clinicians, and undergraduate students majoring in exercise science. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the populations’ perceptions of the Exercise isMedicine®(EiM) initiative, as well as factors that influence an accurate perception of the EiM. METHODS: Participants (N=179; 29 clinicians, mostly NPs; 79 exercise science students at Univ. of Mississippi; 76 general population) residing in Oxford, MS were surveyed for this study; the general population was sampled using a probability sampling approach. Analysis:Qualitative thematic analysis and quantitative regression was used to examine these aims. Results and Conclusion: All subpopulations, on average, were unaware of the initiative and had misguided or inaccurate perceptions that may reduce their responsiveness to the EiM initiative. Gender and health status predicted accurate perceptions of the initiative, which may need to be taken into consideration when evaluation the efficacy of the initiative. Study II is entitled,The United States National Physical Activity Plan: Is it Being Integrated into Exercise Science Curriculum? Aim: Examine the extent to which graduate exercise science curriculum incorporates aspects of the NPAP into their curriculum. Methods:A population-based cross-sectional study design was employed. Appropriate faculty member(s) who are teaching or have taught a course related to the study topic within the past 3 years in each of the 61 U.S. institutions granting a doctoral degree in the field of exercise science were evaluated via email questionnaire. All survey questions consist of yes/no response options in which we addressed 3 of the 8 societal sectors, including 1) health care sector, 2) education sector and 3) transportation, land use and community design. Analysis: The data analysis consisted of calculations of proportional estimates for all binary variables. A chi-squared test was used to determine if there are proportional differences in the evaluated questions across schools ranked 1-35 or 36+ by the National Academy of Kinesiology. Results and Conclusion: The findings demonstrated that while awareness of the NPAP among faculty is high, implementation is much lower. There was no association between school ranking and implementation. Both studies show evidence of low implementation of the two evaluated physical activity initiatives. The widespread implementation of both initiatives is important as research has shown a strong effect of physical inactivity on increased risk of morbidity and early mortality. Barriers to initiative implementation and direction of future work will be discussed.



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