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Physical Activity and Public Health: Monitors, Measures, and Methods


East Baltimore
Summer Inst. term
2 credits
Academic Year:
2019 - 2020
Auditors Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor :
Ayesha Khan

Explore the established associations between physical activity and clinical health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and functional decline in older populations.

Compares and contrasts historical and current methods of physical activity assessment (subjective and objective) and how these methods have been used to derive the current physical activity CDC recommendations. Examines the problem of measurement and the emerging use of technology (mHealth) to assess physical activity in clinical and research settings.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the health benefits of physical activity, from neuromuscular, cardiovascular, and metabolic viewpoints
  2. Discuss the epidemiology of physical activity, specifically from classic studies such as the London bus drivers' study, NHANES, and the LIFE study
  3. Identify the challenges of measuring free-living physical activity, and the pros and cons of subjective and objective measurement tools
  4. Describe the emerging role of technology in monitoring physical activity
  5. Compare and contrast the known benefits of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity with the lesser known benefits of lifestyle (light intensity) physical activity, and the potential dangers of sedentary behavior
Methods of Assessment:

Take home exam 40%; Group presentation/critique of classic journal articles 30%; Step count project 20% Participation 10%

Instructor Consent:

No consent required

Special Comments:

Precourse readings will be assigned two weeks before the start of class via the CoursePlus website. These readings will focus on high-impact and historically relevant papers on the health benefits of physical activity. Take home final will be due on July 1, 2016.