School of Kinesiology launches new health and fitness major


University of Michigan undergraduates interested in the School of Kinesiology can now choose a health and fitness major, new this year and highly relevant in this age of health, wellness and physical activity.

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Health and fitness was approved in the spring and appears on the common application for new undergraduates. The School of Kinesiology spent nearly two years refining the new curriculum. The major encompasses two tracks of study: health and fitness leadership, and physical education with teacher certification.

The new health and fitness leadership program is a research-based curriculum for students aspiring to careers promoting individual and community health, and provides students with the coursework and skills necessary to obtain national certifications through groups such as the American College of Sports Medicine.

Additionally, students get hands-on experience through a required internship, which often leads to job offers in fields such as recreation, personal training, corporate wellness, coaching and health promotion.

“This new major allows students to be leaders in physical activity, health and wellness and nutrition,” said Ron Zernicke, professor and dean of the School of Kinesiology. “The field is exploding with interest, and we have the opportunity to educate the next generation of leaders who can have an impact on the health and overall well-being of society — across the lifespan — from the very young to the old.”

“Through our review, there is a surge of interest in and demand for evidence-based, top-caliber health and physical activity/fitness programs and leaders,” said Pat Van Volkinburg, associate dean for academic programs at the School of Kinesiology. “We know from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that employment of health and fitness educators in the United States is expected to grow through 2018 by 18 percent, which is faster than the average for all occupations.”

Students who complete the health and fitness leadership track receive a Bachelor of Science degree. Required courses include: biomechanics of sport; exercise, nutrition and weight control; psychological aspects of sport and exercise; prevention and care of athletic injuries; and managerial ethics in the sport and fitness industries.

Health and fitness freshman Brooke Bremer has always been fascinated with movement and the human body, and the new major was a perfect fit for her interests.

“Because of the courses, my passion for health and fitness, and the growing need for health and fitness professionals, the program was a natural choice for me,” she said. “I am extremely excited to see where the health and fitness program takes me and what I will learn along the way.”


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