- Darla M Castelli
Darla M Castelli
- Projects & Grants
- Grad Students
Darla M. Castelli, Ph.D. is a professor of physical education pedagogy and health behavior health education in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She is an active fellow in the National Academy of Kinesiology, who examines the effects of physical activity and metabolic risk factors on cognitive health. Castelli strives to understand how physical activity can reverse the effects of health risk. She has been working with school-age youth in physical activity settings for more than 25 years, leading several physical activity interventions (e.g., Kinetic Kidz, FITKids1,FITKids2, Active + Healthy = Forever Fit, Fitness4Everyone). Castelli has received teaching awards in both the public school (i.e. Maine Physical Education Teacher of the Year) and higher education (i.e., University of Illinois Teaching Excellence Award, University of Texas at Austin, Kinesiology and Health Education Graduate Teaching Award). Recently she was named 2020 Catherine D. Ennis Scholar Award from AERA and the 2020 SHAPE America Scholar. Award. As a fellow in the SHAPE America RC and past Young Scholar award recipient from NAKPEHE and AEISEP, her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, American Dietetic Foundation, and U.S. Department of Education. She has presented her work at U.S. Congress and Senate Briefings in Washington, DC in support of the FIT Kids Act. Castelli has been a member of two Institute of Medicine committees on Fitness Measures and Health Outcomes in Youth and Physical Activity and Physical Education in the School Environment. She received a B.S. from Plymouth State University, a M.S. from Northern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.
Dr. Castelli currently directs the department's Kinetic Kidz Lab, found at https://sites.edb.utexas.edu/kk2.
Ph.D. in Physical Education Pedagogy, University of South Carolina, 2002
M.S. in Exercise Physiology, Northern Illinois University, 1991
B.S. in Physical Education Pedagogy, Plymouth State University, 1989
Studies the relationship between physical activity and cognitive performance in children, adolescents, and emerging adults.
The University of Texas at Austin, Whole Communities - Whole Health Themed Organizing Committee, VP for Research Grand Challenge(2018 - 2023)
SHAPE America, Research Council - chair, (2015 - 2018)
Member, Editorial Board, Research Quarterly for Exercise & Sport(2014 - 2016)
Member, Committee on Physical Activity, Fitness and Academic Achievement, Institute of Medicine(2012 - 2013)
Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education(2011 - Present)
Member, Committee on Youth Fitness, Institute of Medicine(2011 - 2012)
Centeio, E., Cance, J., Barcelona, J. & Castelli, D. (2018). Relationship between health risk and school attendance among adolescents.. American Journal of Health Education, 49(1), 28–32.
Beddoes, Z. & Castelli, D. (2017). Comprehensive school physical activity programs in middle schools.. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 88(6), 26–32.
Carson, R., Castelli, D. & Kulinna, P. (2017). CSPAP professional preparation: Takeaways from pioneering physical education teacher education programs.. Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, 88(1), 43–51.
Hwang, J., Castelli, D. & Gonzalez-Lima, F. (2017). he positive cognitive impact of aerobic fitness is associated with peripheral inflammatory and brain-derived biomarkers in young adults.. Physiology & Behavior, 179, 75–89.
Castelli, D., Carson, R. & Kulinna, P. (2017). PETE programs creating teacher leaders to integrate comprehensive school physical activity programs.. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance, 8–10.
Drollette, E., Pontifex, M., Raine, L., Scudder, M., Moore, R., Kao, S., Castelli, D. & Khen, N. (2017). Effects of the FITKids physical activity randomized controlled trial on conflict monitoring in youth.. Psychophysiology.
Marshall, T., Champagne-Langabeer, T., Castelli, D. & Hoelscher, D. (2017). Cognitive computing and eScience in health and life science research: Artificial intelligence and obesity intervention programs.. Health Information Systems, 5(13).
Moore, J., Carson, R., Webster, C., Singletary, C., Castelli, D., Pate, R., Beets, M. & Beighle, A. (2017). he application of an implementation science framework to comprehensive school physical activity programs: Be a Champion!. Frontiers in Public Health, 5.
Kirkham-King, M., Brusseau, T., Hannon, J., Castelli, D., Hilton, K. & Burns, R. (2017). Elementary physical education: A focus on fitness activities and smaller class sizes are associated with higher levels of physical activity.. Preventive Medicine Reports, 8, 135–139.
Chapman-Novakofski, K., Muzaffar, H., Castelli, D. & Sherer, J. (2016). Health websites games and features evaluation by middle schoolers.. International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies (IJWLTT), 11(3), 27–38.
Glowacki, E., Centeio, E., Van Dongen, D., Carson, R. & Castelli, D. (2016). Health promotion efforts as predictors of opportunities for physical activity: An application of the diffusion of innovations model. Journal of School Health.
Cooper, K., Greenberg, J., Castelli, D., Barton, M., Martin, S. & Morrow, J. (2016). Implementing policies to enhance physical education and physical activity in schools.. Research Quarterly for Exercise & Sport, 87(2), 133–140. doi:10.1080/02701367.2016.1164009.
Donnelly, J., Hillman, C., Castelli, D., Etnier, J., Lee, S., Tomporowski, P., Lambourne, K. & Szabo-Reed, A. (2016). Physical activity, fitness, cognitive function, and academic achievement in children: A systematic review.. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 48(6), 969–1225.
Hwang, J., Castelli, D. & Gonzalez-Lima, F. (2016). Cognitive enhancement by transcranial laser stimulation and acute aerobic exercise.. Lasers in Medical Science, 31(6), 1151–1160.
Hwang, J., Brothers, R., Castelli, D., Glowacki, E., Chen, Y., Salinas, M., Kim, J., Jung, Y. & Calvert, H. (2016). Acute high-intensity exercise-induced cognitive enhancement and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in young, healthy adults.. Neuroscience Letters, 630(6), 247–253.
Phillips, D., Hannon, J. & Castelli, D. (2015). Effects of vigorous intensity physical activity on mathematics test performance. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education(34), 346–362.
Castelli, D., Barcelona, J. & Bryant, L. (2015). Contextualizing physical literacy in the school environment: The challenges. Journal of Sport and Health Science(4), 1–7. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2015.04.003.
Hillman, C., Pontifex, M., Castelli, D., Khan, N., Raine, L., Scudder, M., Drollette, E., Moore, R., Wu, C. & Kamijo, K. (2014). The effects of a FITKids randomized controlled trial on executive control and brain function. Pediatrics. doi:10.1089/dia.2014.0073.
Carson, R., Castelli, D., Pulling Kuhn, A., Moore, J., Beets, M., Beighle, A., Ajja, R., Calvert, H. & Glowacki, E. (2014). Impact of trained champions of comprehensive school physical activity programs on school physical activity offerings, youth physical activity and sedentary behaviors. Preventive Medicine, 69, S12–S19.
Castelli, D., Carson, R. & Hodges Kulinna, P. (2014). Comprehensive school physical activity programs. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 33(4), 435–439. doi:10.1123/jtpe.2014-0193.
Centeio, E., Castelli, D., Hwang, J., Barelona, J., Glowacki, E., Calvert, H. & Nicksic, H. (2014). The history of physical activity and academic performance research: Informing the future, 79(4), 119–148.
Khan, N., Raine, L., Drollette, E., Scudder, M., Pontifex, M., Castelli, D., Donovan, S., Evans, E. & Hillman, C. (2014). Impact of the FITKids physical activity intervention on adiposity in prepubertal children. Pediatrics, 133(4), e875–e883. doi:10.1542/peds.2013-2246.
Castelli, D., Centeio, E., Beighle, A., Carson, R. & Nicksic, H. (2014). Physical literacy and comprehensive school physical activity programs. Preventive Medicine, 95–100.
Castelli, D., Brothers, R., Hwang, J., Nicksic, H., Glowacki, E., Harrison, M. & Van Dongen, D. (2013). Health indices and cognitive performance in emerging adults. Journal of Novel Physiotherapies, 4(189).
Erwin, H., Beighle, A., Carson, R. & Castelli, D. (2013). Comprehensive school-based physical activity promotion: A review. Quest, 65(4), 412–428. doi:10.1080/00336297.2013.791872.
Castelli, D., Centeio, E. & Nicksic, H. (2013). Preparing educators to promote and provide physical activity in schools. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 7(5), 324–332.
Chaddock, L., Erickson, K., Boss, M., Kencht, A., Pontifex, M., Castelli, D., Hillman, C. & Kramer, A. (2013). The effects of physical activity on functional MRI activation associated with cognitive control in children: A randomized controlled intervention. Frontiers in Human Neurosciences, 7, 72. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00072.
Drollette, E., Evans, E., Castelli, D. & Hillman, C. (2012). The negative association of childhood obesity to the cognitive control of action monitoring. Cerebral Cortex. doi:10.4172/2165-7025.1000189.
Hillman, C., Pontifex, M., Motl, R., O'Leary, K., Johnson, C., Scudder, M., Raine, L. & Castelli, D. (2012). ERPs to Academics. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 2S, S90–S98.
Castelli, D. & Ward, K. (2012). Physical activity across the curriculum: Fostering the beneficial effects of a comprehensive school physical activity program. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 83(6), 20–24 & 29.
Castelli, D., Hillman, C., Hirsch, J., Hirsch, A. & Drollette, E. (2011). FIT Kids: Time in target heart zone and cognitive performance. Preventive Medecine, 52(1), S55–S59.
Kamijo, K., Khan, N., Pontifex, M., Scudder, M., Drollette, E., Raine, L., Evans, E., Castelli, D. & Hillman, C. (n.d.). The negative relation of excess adiposity to cognitive health in preadolescent children: perspectives on academic achievement (in press). Obesity.
NIH R21 - Negotiating Competing Task Goals While Walking in Young and Older Adults
The purpose of this study is to examine age-related declines in executive function and these contribute to impaired motor performance and increase the risks of harmful physical consequences (e.g., collision, loss of balance), using an advance virtual reality environment.
UT Bridging Barriers Initiative - ENgaged Texas Research ALliance (CENTRAL)
Castelli, D.M., Barczyk, A., Bearman, S., Champagne, F., Kinney, K., Lawson, K., Mackert, M., Rodriguez, L., Maslowsky, J., Nagy, Z., Schnyer, D. (Co-PIs). UT VPR 01/2018-2028. ENgaged Texas Research ALliance (CENTRAL). A ten year initiative with an estimated total budget of 10M
Process and Outcome Evaluation of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and General Mills Foundation. Presidential Youth Fitness Program Evaluation Proposal. Castelli, D.M. (PI), Cance, J. (Co-PI), & Bartholomew, J. (Co-I). $688,000 (funded April 2012-2015).
A One-Year Study of CSPAP Implementation by Two Cohorts of Certified Directors of Physical Activity
National Association for Sport & Physical Education. Carson, R. L. (PI), Beighle, A (Co-PI), & Castelli, D.M. (Co-PI). $30,000. (funded January 2012).
The Effects of a Single Bout of Exercise on Brain, Cognition, and Scholastic Achievement
NIH R01, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Hillman, C. (PI), Cohen, N. (Co-I), & Castelli, D.M. (Co-I). $1,949,589 (funded January 2012).
Active Living Research: Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Carson, R. L. (PI), Beighle, A (Co-PI), & Castelli, D.M. (Co-PI). Building the Next Generation of Active Youth through Directors of Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs, $150,000 (funded January 2012).
Dairy Max: Benefits of Chocolate Milk Consumption in High School Athletes
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of vitamin D and protein consumption on physical and cognitive performance among high school athletes.
2020 Catherine D. Ennis Scholar Award, Research on Learning & Instruction in Physical Education, SIG, American Educational Research Association (AERA) (2020 - 2021)
Scholar Award, Society of Health and Physical Educators, SHAPE America (2020 - 2021)
Curriculum and Instruction Award, Society of Health and Physical Educators, SHAPE America (2020)
Catherine Mae Parker Centennial Professorship in Education, The University of Texas at Austin (2017)
National Academy of Kinesiology - Active Fellow, National Academy of Kinesiology (2016)
Longhorn Game Changer - Professor of Excellence, University of Texas at Austin, Game Changers (2013)
Dean's Faculty Fellow Award, University of Texas at Austin (2013)
Joe R. & Teresa Long Endowed Faculty Fellow, University of Texas at Austin, College of Education (2012)
Teaching Excellence Award, University of Illinois (2008)
Research Consortium Fellow, AAHPERD (2007)
Past-President's Scholar Award, IAHPERD (2007)
International Young Scholar Award, AIESEP (2006)
Gamification in Higher Education, Lulea University of Technology, Lulea, Sweden (2016)
Exercise Literacy and Academic Achievement, Simposio Fitescola Symposium: Exercicio, Sucesso, Futuro. Ministry of Education, Lisbon, Portugal (2016)
Comprehensive Approaches to School Physical Activity, Human Capital and Academic Success, Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal (2016)
Physical Activity, Health Risk, & Cognitive Performance in Children & Young Adults., University of Jyvaskyla, Jyvaskyla, Finland (2015)
Fit, Healthy and Ready to Champion, Utah State Office of Education, Salt Lake City, UT (2015)
Physical Activity, Health Risk & Academic Achievement in Children., Maine AAHPERD, Rockland, ME (2015)
Fit, Healthy and Ready to Teach, Adelphi University, (2015)
Physical Education, Physical Activity, and Physical Literacy Global Perspective., AAHPERD, St. Louis, MO (2014)
Bringing the Brain to the Head of the Class, Utah State Department of Education, Salt Lake City, UT (2014)
Moving Kids Toward Success, Active Living Research - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, (2014)
Kate Puckett, Ph.D., expected 2021 (Committee Member)
QRIS systems and their influence on quality as perceived by teachers; Play as an evidenced based curriculum; Early childhood teacher education; Mentoring of inservice teachers in childcare settings; Influences on adults' decisions about how much risky play to allow children to participate in, particularly in cross-cultural settings
Yen T Chen (Supervisor)
|2020||Spring||KIN 395: 21-Children's Exercise & Activ|
|2020||Spring||KIN 334: Chldrn's Exercise & Phys Activ|
|2020||Spring||HED 373: Evaluation And Research Design|
|2019||Fall||KIN 395: 71-Cogn/Exerc Across Lifespan|
|2019||Fall||KIN 352K: Sport Pedagogy|
|2019||Fall||EDC 350: Sport Pedagogy|
|2019||Spring||KIN 314: Children's Movement|
|2019||Spring||EDC 196: 9-Phys Education Teacher Educ|
|2018||Fall||EDC 345: Curric Iss In Physical Educatn|
|2018||Fall||KIN 395: 71-Cogn/Exerc Across Lifespan|
|2018||Spring||KIN 352K: Sport Pedagogy|
|2018||Spring||KIN 314: Children's Movement|
|2018||Spring||HED 196: Doctoral Seminar|
|2018||Spring||EDC 196: 9-Phys Education Teacher Educ|
|2018||Spring||EDC 390T: 10-Anly Of Teaching In Phys Ed|
|2018||Spring||EDC 370S: 12-Teaching Sec Physical Educ|
|2018||Spring||EDC 350: Sport Pedagogy|
|2017||Fall||KIN 395: 71-Cogn/Exerc Across Lifespan|
|2017||Fall||KIN 352K: Sport Pedagogy|
|2017||Fall||EDC 350: Sport Pedagogy|
|2017||Summer||KIN f314: Children's Movement|
|2017||Summer||HED f398T: Teaching In Higher Education|
|2017||Spring||KIN 352K: Sport Pedagogy|
|2017||Spring||EDC 196: 9-Phys Education Teacher Educ|
|2016||Fall||KIN 395: 71-Cogn/Exerc Across Lifespan|
|2016||Fall||KIN 352K: Sport Pedagogy|
|2016||Fall||KIN 314: Children's Movement|
|2016||Fall||EDC 196: 9-Phys Education Teacher Educ|
|2016||Summer||HED s398T: Teaching In Higher Education|
|2015||Fall||EDC 385G: Rsch On Teacher Ed In Phys Ed|
|2015||Fall||HED 398T: Teaching In Higher Education|
|2015||Fall||KIN 395: 71-Cogn/Exerc Across Lifespan|
|2015||Spring||EDC 385G: 99-Curriculum In Physical Educ|
|2014||Fall||KIN 395: 71-Cogn/Exerc Across Lifespan|
|2014||Fall||EDC 185G: Phys Educ Teacher Educ Forum|
|2014||Summer||HED f398T: Tchng/Sprvsn In Kin & Hlth Ed|
|2014||Spring||KIN 395: 71-Cogn/Exerc Across Lifespan|
UT Game Changers: Kids and Physical Activity
Drs. Darla Castelli and John Bartholomew discuss their research and the implications for providing physical activity in schools.
Kinetic Kidz Video
An example of research conducted in the Kinetic Kidz Lab at The University of Texas at Austin.
Whole Communities Whole Health
In Texas, many children live in poverty, suffer from chronic illness, or endure abuse and neglect. Despite years of targeted intervention, these issues persist. Changing the way science helps society thrive is our grand challenge.