Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Kohl Named NPAPA Chair

Published: June 25, 2019

The National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) is a full and well-rounded approach to increasing physical activity in the US population through the creation of policies, programs, and initiatives focused on this issue. Though NPAP first started in 2010, it was updated in 2016 to address the changing needs of the population in relation to physical activity. The main goal of the program is simple, that “one day, all Americans will be physically active, and they will live, work and play in environments that encourage and support regular physical activity." In order to do that, The National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA) was formed. The NPAPA Board of Directors is the entity that approves the most current NPAP in 2016, and is comprised of public health experts, researchers, and stakeholders, including our very own Dr. Bill Kohl.

Dr. KohlDr. Bill Kohl is the Chair of the Board of Directors of NPAPA, appointed through 2021. He has dedicated much of his public health career to the science behind physical activity as to create a better societal understanding of it, along with physical activity promotion. His interest in public health started with an interest in epidemiology and biostatistics, and a general curiosity and respect for the scientific process. He graduated from the University of California San Diego with a Bachelor’s in Biology and a minor in Chemistry, and followed up with a Masters of Science in Public Health from the University of South Carolina. He finished his formal studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Houston for his PhD in Community Health Studies, with concentrations in Community Health and Epidemiology. He now serves as the Associate Regional Dean of Student Affairs and International Health Affairs at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin, Texas, and is also a member of the executive Committee for the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living. Dr. Kohl also teaches Kinesiology at the University of Texas at Austin. As a public health professor, researcher, and expert in his field, Dr. Kohl continues to strive to improve the health of all Americans. He started Active Texas 2020, and has authored, co-authored, and edited numerous textbooks and journal articles primarily related to kinesiology, public health, and physical activity. His second textbook, Foundations of Kinesiology, was published last year and the second edition of his first textbook, Foundations of Physical Activity and Public Health, is forthcoming later in 2019.

It is important to focus on increasing physical activity nationally and globally. The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living is developing a series of reports, Healthy Children, Healthy State, to raise awareness of child health risk factors like physical inactivity. The Child Physical Activity Report highlights the current state of physical activity for children in Texas. The current state of affairs is dire, and Dr. Kohl, along with many other public health experts, agree that increasing physical activity is one way to combat the risk of developing preventable conditions like obesity, stroke, and diabetes. Along with plans set forth in the NPAP, individuals can take steps to be more active on their own time. Scheduling in a weekly walk with family or friends, or signing up for a community sports league are great ways to increase physical activity. Those who may not have time to exercise daily can also make conscious efforts to increase their movement daily by doing things like taking the stairs, or parking further away from where they need to be. More resources on physical activity and its effect on health can be found here.