An Assessment of the Factors That Influence the Promotion and Delivery of Sport, Fitness, and Health Courses: Contributions of Marketing to Physical Education

Article excerpt

Abstract

The factors that influence students' enrollment in sport, fitness, and health courses, and their evaluation of the quality of service they receive continues to be of interest. A case study exposed a variety of factors influencing the promotion and delivery of sport, fitness, and health courses. While most of the factors identified were only minimally influential, the most prominent reasons for enrolling in sport, fitness, and health courses were related to skill development or enhancement of knowledge about health and fitness. The "performance of the instructor" received the highest rating relating to course delivery quality, and "improvement in fitness" received the lowest rating. Significant differences were also found between the students' rating of the quality of the sport, fitness, and health courses. Based on the findings, marketing suggestions to improve the overall promotion and delivery of the program were presented.

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College and university physical educators have the responsibility to encourage healthy and active lifestyles among their students. Therefore, it is important to examine the effectiveness of physical education classes that are offered to meet this responsibility. To do so requires an assessment of the various factors that influence the overall promotion and delivery of such course offerings.

A case study of a physical activities program was assessed at a large mid-western university located in a community with a wealth of sport, fitness, and health offerings for residents and students alike. Although the university offered a very comprehensive physical activities program for students, it was still in competition with organizations offering similar programs and services in its immediate environment. There were no general physical education or health requirements for students enrolled at the university; however, a series of laboratory and theory courses focused on physical activity and health behavior were offered as electives for undergraduate credit through the university's Sport, Fitness and Health Program (SFHP). The SFHP was designated as a scholarly program of the School in which it was housed. Each quarter, students were offered the oppomnity to take approximately 60 different courses in individual sports, fitness activities, court sports, games, martial arts, dance, first aid/CPR, and aquatics. The mission of the SFHP was to enhance the health and quality of life of students through the promotion of an active and healthy lifestyle. The mission statement reads:

   "Consistent with the academic thrust of the School, the mission of the SFHP
   is to enhance the health and quality of life of our students through the
   promotion of an active lifestyle. The SFHP is a manifestation of our social
   responsibility to offer a program of services to educate and train students
   about: (a) the physiological and psychosocial benefits of sport and
   physical activity; (b) the dynamics and interplay of physical activity,
   fitness, health, and quality of life; and (c) the psychomotor skills
   related to sport, exercise, and leisure; and (d) the cognitive and
   behavioral skills necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. By promoting
   these services and providing opportunities for students to engage physical
   activity, it is the intent of the SFHP to induce behavior changes among
   students which have an enduring effect on maintaining health through
   physical activity and a healthy lifestyle. The program's services will be
   made equally available and accessible to all students."

To identify means of enhancing the promotion and delivery of the SFHP, the primary objectives of this study were to: (a) describe the demographic profile of students enrolled in SFHP courses, (b) determine students' frequency of enrollment in the courses, (c) assess the reasons students enroll in SFHP courses, and (d) ascertain students' evaluation of the quality of the courses/overall SFHP. …

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