Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Health Promotion; Health Promotion; Adolescent; Child; Infant


Chronic disease, preventable illness and injury, and growing trends of sedentary behaviors have currently been associated with the American population. It is estimated that 70% of all deaths in America are attributable to chronic disease of a preventable nature. Childhood disease has declined only to be replaced by new waves of social, environmental, and behavioral factors which manifest as health risks. At least 68 million Americans suffer from some form of heart disease while nearly 60% of adults lead sedentary lifestyles. The challenge in the nation is to counter these trends by implementation of policy and programs for healthier habits and lifestyles.

This literature review will identify physical activity as an essential component for improvement in the health, fitness, and well-being of the American population. The research will blend principles of learning, behavior patterns, and physical activity practices at various developmental and social stages with regard to health. The education of individuals in primary and secondary education will be explored as an immediate, easily-implemented, and cost effective avenue for improvement. Positive health practices formulated in youth will be examined with regard to carryover in adulthood and the effects on adult health. The goal is to create greater awareness and initiate action toward improved health habits of American citizens. The information may be used in initiatives by individuals, families, communities, and public health agencies to promote programs which prepare individuals for a lifetime of physical activity and improved health throughout the American lifestyle and life span.