Physical Activity and Health Promotion Laboratory

Location: Room 167L Forker Building

Coordinated by: Dr. Greg Welk

The Physical Activity and Health Promotion Lab conducts research on the assessment and promotion of physical activity and healthy lifestyles. The group is involved in a number of research initiatives but a few specific lines of research are highlighted below:

  • Evaluation of Accelerometry Based Activity Monitors:
    • Evaluation of Sensewear armband monitors - This work has focused on evaluating the validity and utility of the Sensewear monitors for free living physical activity monitoring (See the Bodymedia website for details on the Sensewear monitor)
    • Evaluation of Consumer based activity monitors - This work has explored the validity of the many consumer - based activity monitors that have sprung up in the market (e.g. FitBit, Direct Life, Nike Fuelband, Jawbone UP, etc…) as well as new applications based on accelerometers and gyroscope functions in contemporary smart phones.
  • Evaluation of Self-Report Measures of Physical Activity
    • Physical Activity Measurement Survey (PAMS) -  This work focuses on evaluating measurement error in self-report measures of physical activity. The team is completing evaluation of data collected as part of a 4 year NIH grant (R01).
    • Youth Activity Profile - This work focuses on developing and calibrating a self-report measure of physical activity to facilitate school based assessments of physical activity. The team has developed calibration models and an online application has been developed for continued evaluation and future dissemination. (Visit the current website at www.youthactivityprofile.org) to learn more)
  • Physical Activity and Health Promotion Programming in Youth
    • FITNESSGRAM Health Related Fitness Program - This work focuses on developing and evaluating health related standards for the FITNESSGRAM program as well as the evaluation of school-based programming conducted with the FITNESSGRAM program (see the FITNESSGRAM website for more information).
    • Family Nutrition and Physical Activity Screening (FNPA) Tool - This work examines the utility of a behaviorally-based screening tool to identify home obesogenic environments that may predispose youth to obesity. The team is currently focused on evaluation of a 2 year R21 grant but new efforts are examining applications of  the FNPA into clinical settings. (Visit the website at www.myFNPA.org to learn more).
    • SWITCH Obesity Prevention Program - This work focuses on the refinement and dissemination of an evidence-based obesity prevention program called SWITCH (the goal is to provide parents with training to help their children ‘switch what you view, do and chew”). Phase I web development has been completed and programming is being scaled up (Visit the website at www.iowaswitch.orgto learn more).
  • Physical Activity and Health Promotion Programming in Adults
    • Wellness Works (Worksite Wellness Programming) - This work focuses on supporting and assisting local worksites (including ISU) in building effective worksite programming. The group manages a departmental outreach program called Wellness Works that provides students with opportunities to learn about worksite wellness (www.wellnessworksISU.org)
    • ExerCYse (Exercise is Medicine) - This work focuses on building visibility and support for physical activity programming on campus, in the community and in clinical settings. The group manages a departmental outreach program (www.ExerCYse.org) that provides students with opportunities to serve and impact their local communities.

The lab is equipped with a variety of accelerometry-based physical activity monitors but the majority of work in the lab is conducted with the Sensewear Mini armband monitor. A variety of health promotion software applications are also housed in the lab and used for different applications. A network of computers are used for processing and analyzing data. The computers include typical research applications as well as statistical programs (e.g. SAS /SPSS), graphical programs (e.g. MedCalc) and bibliography tools (e.g. EndNote). Other equipment in the lab include an Oxycon Mobile metabolic cart, a Monark exercise bike, a Treadmill, and various anthropometry equipment (e.g. stadiometer, scale, calipers, BIA devices).

A number of graduate students are currently working with Dr. Welk on various research and outreach projects conducted through the Physical Activity and Health Promotion Lab. See list below:

  • Pedro Saint-Maurice (pedrosm@iastate.edu) - Ph.D. student
  • Jung-Min Lee (jungminl@iastate.edu) - Ph.D. student
  • Young-Won Kim (youngwon@iastate.edu) - Ph.D. student
  • Yang Bai (ybai@iastate.edu) - Ph.D. student
  • Karissa Peyer (kpeyer@iastate.edu) - Ph.D student
  • Erin Mackinzie (emnelson@iastate.edu) - Ph.D. student
  • Brad Peters (bpeters@iastate.edu) - M.S. student
  • Yoon-Ho Nam (yoonho@iastate.edu) - M.S. student
  • Tianna Allen (tsallen@iastate.edu) - M.S. student

Additional information on Dr. Welk’s research and the Health Promotion and Exercise Lab is available on Dr. Greg Welk’s website. The site also contains information about a variety of outreach programs managed by his group and how students can get involved through service learning programming.

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