Physical Activity and Health: Current Research Trends and Critical Issues

Dawn K. Wilson, Nicole Zarrett and Heather Kitzman-Ulrich

in The Oxford Handbook of Health Psychology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342819
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Physical Activity and Health: Current Research Trends and Critical Issues


The field of health psychology may offer unique theoretical and practical approaches for promoting physically active lifestyle changes. This chapter addresses relevant theoretical mediating and moderating factors ranging from cognitive, emotional, and physical to social and environmental influences on improving physical activity (PA) across the lifespan. It highlights the critical need for theoretically driven research that focuses on understanding mediational factors that may explain behavior and behavior change processes. It also focuses on understanding the balance between conducting science-based research using randomized controlled trials (RCTs) versus the need for involving communities in more participatory research for improving community engagement. In addition, it highlights the need for incorporating a developmental perspective and outlines key issues relevant to understanding PA behavior across the lifespan.

Keywords: Physical activity research; health; exercise; health psychology; behavior change; disease prevention; randomized controlled trials

Article.  15452 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology

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