Campus: CSU, San Diego -- July 20, 2001

National Health Organization Honors SDSU Professor for Research into Children and Fitness

Thomas L. McKenzie, San Diego State University professor of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, has been awarded the highest honor from a national health organization for his continuous research in physical activity and physical education among children and adolescents.

The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) named McKenzie the 2001-02 Alliance Scholar at the organization's annual meeting. As the Alliance Scholar, he will be sponsored by AAHPERD to present at a series of professional meetings throughout the country and at the organization's national conference in San Diego. McKenzie is the first faculty member in the California State University system to receive this award.

McKenzie has been researching child and adolescent physical activity for more than 25 years and says his research is especially important today when physical activity levels among young children and adolescents are declining.

"Obesity as well as Type 2 diabetes are increasing and are present in a much younger population," said McKenzie. "Factors causing this include a decline in time allocated to physical education and recess at schools, and children having fewer places to play actively."

A former schoolteacher and administrator, McKenzie is a national leader in designing physical education and staff development programs, which been tested in hundreds of schools over 12 years.
"My research focuses on the decline of physical activity in youth and tests original methods for schools, communities and parents to use to reverse the trend," he said.

Robert Carlson, chairperson for the Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, says McKenzie's honor is well-deserved.

"Professor McKenzie's research is extremely important to the health and fitness of children everywhere," Carlson said. "He is a dedicated leader in the field and is an asset to the department."

AAHPERD is the largest organization of professionals involved in physical education, health, recreation, dance and sports. It promotes and supports creative and healthy lifestyles through high-quality programs. The organization is known for its program "Jumprope for the Heart," which raises funds for medical research and educational programs that teach students the benefit of physical activity.

San Diego State University is the oldest and largest higher education institution in the San Diego region. Since it was founded in 1897, SDSU has grown to offer bachelor's degrees in 76 areas, master's degrees in 59 areas and doctorates in 13. SDSU's more than 31,000 students participate in an academic curriculum distinguished by direct contact with professors and an increasing international emphasis that prepares them for a global future. For more information, log onto www.sdsu.edu.


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