Sami Yli-Piipari


Dr. Sami Yli-Piipari is an associate professor in Children’s Physical Activity, Fitness, and School Health Promotion at the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia. He directs Children’s Physical Activity and Fitness Laboratory specializing on obesity prevention and children’s physical activity and motivation. In addition, he is a Co-Director of Sport Instruction Research Laboratory. Dr. Yli-Piipari earned his PhD in 2011 from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland in Sport Pedagogy with concentration on exercise psychology. After working as junior faculty at the University of Jyvaskyla, Dr. Yli-Piipari spent two postdoc years at the University of North Carolina - Greensboro, and three years as an assistant professor at the University of Memphis. Dr. Yli-Piipari has published 60+ book chapters and research articles in peer-reviewed journals and he has been able to secure more than $1.6mil in external funding. He is a research fellow of the Society for Health and Physical Educators and an editorial board member of the Journal of Teaching, Research, and Media in Kinesiology and Asian Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Areas of Expertise

  • serious exercise games
  • physical education instruction
  • self-determination theory
  • autonomy
  • achievement goal theory
  • structural equation modeling
  • Pediatric Obesity Prevention


  • physical activity
  • motivation
  • exercise
  • physical education
  • serious exercise games
  • wellness



  •  PhD in Sport Pedagogy, 2011
    University of Jyvaskyla, Finland


Research Summary

Dr. Sami Yli-Piipari is a children and adolescent physical activity specialist with an academic interest in motivational processes impacting sustainable physical activity and exercise behaviors. Specifically, he is examining how psychological need-supportive interventions prevent and treat pediatric obesity.

Awards and Accolades

Research Fellow

Society of Physical and Health Educators, 2015

Department Chair's Award for Outstanding Research Contribution

University of Memphis, 2013

Fulbright Graduate Grant Scholarship Award

Fulbright, 2010