Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Health and Physical Activity Research as Represented in RQES

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Health and Physical Activity Research as Represented in RQES

Article excerpt

In the past 75 years, articles in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (RQES) have contributed to the understanding of the role physical activity plays in the health of individuals and populations. Articles have described laboratory and community research studies in humans and animals, presented reviews of topics and conference proceedings, and presented forums for discussion about current topics in physical activity and health. The articles reflect the growth of the profession from basic inquiry, about physiological responses to exercise (and the development of physical fitness methods and standards), to studies of the effects of exercise on physical fitness and health in various population subgroups. This evolution in RQES reflects the well recognized paradigm shift toward public health concerns for physical activity and health outcomes.

Key words: epidemiology, exercise, physical fitness, public health


At the turn of the 20th century, research about exercise and the human body focused on the development of anthropometrical methods to evaluate the physique and ways to assess school children's physical fitness. Little was known about how the human body responded to exercise and the role exercise played in maintaining good health and preventing disease. In 1930, the American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation founded the journal, The Research Quarterly (now called the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, RQES) to disseminate results of research about exercise, physical fitness, health, and professional issues in physical education (Rice, Hutchinson, & Lee, 1969). In the past 75 years, research about physical activity, exercise, and health published in RQES has reflected changes in the understanding about human movement and health and disease. The journal has presented diverse articles about varied health-related topics, with many reflecting events taking place in society as a whole.

Table 1 shows a timeline of events related to physical activity and health by decade between 1930 and 2000. The timeline shows the need to have a physically fit and healthy society for national security and disease prevention purposes. The emergence of women in athletic competition in the 1970s increased the scope of research in RQES as did the involvement of public health in understanding the role regular physical activity played in the 1980s in preventing disease and premature mortality.

In this article we provide an overview of physical activity and health articles published in RQES during the past 75 years and provide a discussion of the research themes that have emerged during this time. Key articles are selected that highlight research in physical activity and health.

Trends Related to Health and Physical Activity Research in RQES

To identify physical activity and health articles published in RQES, we searched volumes 1-75 and organized the articles to reflect topics of physical activity, health, disease and injury prevention, longevity, the effects of physical activity on human physiology and disease processes, and public health aspects of physical activity and fitness. We then present the topics in a way we think emphasizes trends.

In the past 75 years, RQES has published articles of key interest to society that have led to the growth of physical education and healthy lifestyles. Few articles in the 1930s and 1940s focused on physical activity and health but rather on teaching and administering physical education programs as well as developing physical fitness tests and anthropometric measurements. Articles that dealt with physical activity and health focused on the cardiovascular responses to exercise (Brassfield, 1943; Hellebrandt & Miles, 1934; Pennock, 1935; Rathbone, 1936), exercise and longevity (Karpovich, 1941), physical fitness and health (Chamberlain & Smiley, 1931; Seashore, 1941), and cardiac disease (Deaver, 1939). …

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