Academics, Physical Activity and Ethics: The Declarations

This post is written in haste but I have been thinking about ethics since I started this blog. In the last couple of hours an article has been exposing more than was previously publicly known about Coca Cola’s involvement with physical activity promotion. It is worth reading.

It is clear that the PA community is not currently united about ethical practice. Recent events give an impetus for the academic community to prioritise critical thinking about “advocacy”, “vested interests” and “conflicts of interest” in physical activity research and promotion.

Therefore, here are 4 declarations for ethical PA academic practice. I hope ideas like this guide the academic PA community. They are not exhaustive. I welcome additions.

1. Physical activity researchers and promoters must critically investigate the background of the funders they seek money from.

2. As producers of knowledge, PA researchers are in a powerful, privileged position.  The PA community must automatically treat funders with skepticism.

3. Those involved in PA curriculum design and teaching must give immediate attention to “ethics” in their courses. They must make ethics a compulsory component of the qualification and find suitably qualified people to teach this.

4. PA journals and conferences must foreground themes of “ethics”, “conflicts of interests” and “vested interests” in their publications and events.


Joe Piggin

For more, see:
Piggin, J & Bairner, A (2016) The global physical inactivity pandemic: An analysis of knowledge production. Sport, Education and Society. 21, 2. 131-147.