Physical activity and health emphasis area

Physical Activity and Health is an emerging discipline with the goal of promoting health and preventing chronic diseases through physical activity promotion in various populations. The emphasis area in Physical Activity and Health is intended to provide students with advanced study in physical activity and health promotion and disease prevention, as well as study designs from an epidemiological approach.

The emphasis area will cover a variety of courses, which provide a solid foundation sufficient to understand and conduct research in this field. Courses will include:

  • Physical activity epidemiology
  • Exercise physiology
  • Exercise psychology
  • Movement science
  • Statistics

Research efforts in this area are directed at validating the emerging technologies in assessing physical activity, effects of emerging technologies (i.e., active video games, virtual reality) on individuals’ health outcomes (i.e., cardiorespiratory fitness, motor skills) and perception/action (i.e., motion sickness), and the associations between physical activity and various outcomes (i.e., cognitive functions, biomarkers) of aging and cancer.

Associated labs

Behavioral Physical Activity Laboratory, directed by Daheia Barr-Anderson, PhD

Exercise and Mental Health Laboratory, directed by Beth Lewis, PhD

Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory, directed by Zan Gao, PhD

Associated faculty


Program coursework

See the official University catalog by emphasis areas for the Kinesiology PhD program, and the Kinesiology MS program.

How to apply

Apply to MS/MA/PhD


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Zan Gao headshot.

Zan Gao, PhD
Director of Graduate Studies

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Sara Cannon
Graduate Program Coordinator
& MEd Advisor