Overview of the Lab
The focus of research in the Physical Activity and Health Promotion lab (located in 164F Forker Building) is on the assessment and promotion of physical activity, physical fitness and health in the population. Accurate assessments of physical activity are essential for answering many questions in physical activity epidemiology so improving the accuracy of assessments has been a major focus in the lab. This has included both refinements in objective monitors as well as self-report tools such as our Youth Activity Profile (See Assessment Research Tab). We have developed tools to evaluate and study home obesogenic environments (i.e. Family Nutrition and Physical Activity Screening Tool) and have active lines on using monitoring tools and health coaching to promote behavior change (See Behavioral Research Tab). Another major area of work focuses on applied research on the FITNESSGRAM youth fitness program (See FITNESSGRAM Research Tab).
A number of colleagues collaborate on work in the lab. Click here to see listing of affiliated faculty members or colleagues collaborating working on projects through the Physical Activity and Health Promotion Lab. These pages also provide direct links to individual lab pages.
Click here to see listing of graduate and undergraduate students working through the lab.
The lab serves as a hub for students and faculty with interests in physical activity assessment and promotion. Brief descriptions of some active teams are listed below.
Physical Activity Research Team for Youth
The Physical Activity Research Team for Youth (PARTY) group includes 3 Kinesiology faculty (Dr. Welk, Dr. Chen, and Dr. Vazou), graduate student (Joey Lee), and former graduate student Yang Bai who is now faculty at the University of Vermont. The PARTY group is interested in youth physical activity programming. The team has worked to coordinate the Iowa FITNESSGRAM Initiative and has also established robust measurement tools to evaluate correlates of physical activity in youth.
SWITCH Obesity Intervention Research
The SWITCH research team is an interdisciplinary research group coordinated by faculty researchers from Kinesiology (Dr. Welk, Dr. Chen, Dr. Vazou), Nutrition (Dr. Lanningham-Foster) and Psychology (Dr. Gentile). Fourth year Ph.D. student Joey Lee coordinates the SWITCH project. Click here to learn more about SWITCH.
Clinical Behavior Change Research
The lab has led an ongoing and evolving study called the Health Coach Study that spawned thesis research for 7 different students and new partnerships. The current research team includes Dr. Welk, Dr. Ellingson and Dr. Shook and affiliated students. The Fit Bit Study led by Dr. Laura Ellingson is currently evaluating the utility of the Fit Bit for behavior change applications. Third year Ph.D. student Katy Southard plays a leadership role in managing the Health Coach Study.
Adult Physical Activity Monitoring Study
We are looking for healthy adult volunteers (ages 18-60) to evaluate the utility of different physical activity monitors. Participants will wear 7 different monitors (1 on arm, 1 on leg, 1 on hip and 4 bands on the wrists - 2 per side). The goal of the study is to learn how to outputs from the different devices compare over a full 24 hour period. Participation will require a 30 minute visit to determine eligibility and to get the monitors initialized. You will then wear the monitors for the whole next day and return the following day to complete a survey of your activity patterns. The study will provide insights about how the monitors work. Compensation is available. Click here if you are interested in learning more about the study.
Several research and promotion models have guided work in the lab. Images and brief descriptions are provided here.
The lab includes a variety of equipment for applied physical activity research. Click here to see descriptions and images of the lab.