Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology

Advisor 1

Steven Elmer

Advisor 2

Kelly Kamm

Committee Member 1

Erich Petushek


Introduction: The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) founded the Exercise is Medicine® on Campus (EIM-OC) initiative, which calls upon colleges and universities to promote physical activity on their campuses. The distribution of EIM-OC programs across the U.S. has not been reported. In addition, the impact that EIM-OC programs have on community-level physical activity prevalence is unknown. The purpose of my thesis was to evaluate and enhance the EIM-OC initiative to promote physical activity and overall health in the U.S. Methods: Recognized EIM-OC programs in the U.S. (n=131) were described based on local, county, state, and regional-level variables. Local variables included recognition level, school population, presence of a kinesiology-related degree, type of on-campus health care services, presence of a medical school on campus, as well as city population. County-level variables included population and designation of metro or non-metro county. The state and ACSM region that the program was in was also collected. Using a cross-sectional study design, physical activity prevalence of 1,296 eligible U.S. counties was predicted by the presence of an EIM-OC program among other health factors using multivariate linear regression. Results: Thirty-seven U.S. states had an EIM-OC program, while 27 states had a gold level program. Eighty-six percent of EIM-OC programs had a kinesiology-related degree program, with 76% of programs having student centered health services. School (p=0.21), city (p=0.14), and county (p=0.32) populations did not differ between recognition levels. Nearly 90% of total and gold EIM-OC programs were in metropolitan counties and 10% were in non-metropolitan counties. Adjusted multivariate regression modelling indicated that bronze (p=0.89), silver (p=0.07), and gold (p=0.67) level EIM-OC programs were not significant predictors of county-level physical activity prevalence. However, when accounting for other health factors (e.g., smoking, education, rurality), the model explained 78% of the variability in county-level physical activity prevalence (pDiscussion:Collectively, these results indicate that colleges and universities of all sizes can use EIM-OC to successfully promote physical activity on their campuses. Further promotion to help increase frequencies of participating EIM-OC campuses in states, regions, and non-metro areas across the U.S. is warranted.