Physical Activity & Obesity Research

Adolescent Health Evidence Synthesis
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Positive Incidental Affect and Exercising Are Reciprocally Influential during the Course of a Day

Previous research suggests that how people feel throughout the course of a day (i.e. incidental affect) is predictive of exercise behaviour. Essentially, a mostly separate literature suggests that exercise can lead to more positive incidental affect. This study was conducted by three researchers in the department of behavioral and social sciences: Jessica Emerson, current doctoral student; Shira Dunsiger, assistant professor; and David Williams, associate professor. The study, published in Psychological Health, examined the potential reciprocal effects of incidental affect and exercise behaviour within the same day. READ MORE

Dietary Carbohydrates Intake Related to Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factor

Diets characterized by low glycemic load, low sugar, and higher fiber content may be associated with higher serum sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels in postmenopausal women, according to a new study led by graduate student Menga Huang and Simin Liu, Professor of Epidemiology. The results of this study, published in the Journal of Diabetes, suggest that low glycemic load/index diets with low sugar and high fiber content are associated with higher circulating levels of SHBG in this population, which may reduce the risk of a variety of adverse health outcomes. READ MORE

Epigenetic Mediators between Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Mid-Life Body Mass Index

The purpose of this study, published in Psychosomatic Medicine and led by Eric Loucks, assistant professor of epidemiology, was to evaluate whether associations of childhood socioeconomic disadvantage and adult body mass index are mediated by DNA methylation, an epigenetic mechanism. Participants for this study were 141 men and women from the New England Family Study, who were prospectively followed prenatally though a mean age of 47 years. read more

Examining Residents’ Perceived Implications of a HOPE VI Development for the Community, Health, and Physical Activity

HOPE VI (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere), launched by Congress in 1992, aims to reduce the effects of concentrated poverty by creating mixed-income housing developments in low-income communities with minimal displacement of surrounding residents. This study, published in Journal of Community Practice, and led by Akilah Dulin Keita, assistant professor of behavioral and social sciences, examined surrounding community residents’ perceived implications of a HOPE VI development for the community, health, and physical activity in their Birmingham, AL neighborhood. read more

Newly found, ‘thrifty’ genetic variant influences Samoan obesity

The Samoas’ world-leading rate of obesity is a recent phenomenon, heavily influenced by the globe’s rapid shift to calorie-rich, processed foods and more sedentary lifestyles. A new study, however, led by Stephen McGarvey, professor of epidemiology, suggests nearly half of Samoans have a newly identified and significant genetic variant that contributes to obesity risk; a variant that had remained undiscovered until researchers focused on the islands’ populations. In cell models in the lab, this “thrifty” variant promoted more efficient storage of more fat.  READ MORE

The Exercise-affect-adherence Pathway

A paper published in Frontiers in Psychology and led by Harold Lee, a doctoral student in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, examined the exercise-affect-adherence relationship from an evolutionary perspective. The authors argue that low rates of physical exercise in the general population are a function of the evolved human tendency to avoid unnecessary physical exertion. read more

The Food and Activity Environments of Childcare Found to Be Promising Areas for Improving Nutrition and Activity for Children

This study, published in BMC Nutrition, by Patricia Markham Risica, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Behavioral and Social Sciences, was to assess the current state of food served and physical activity practices of Rhode Island childcare centers to identify potential areas for improvement in the DCYF regulations and implementation, by comparing centers with and without USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program participation to assess the potential influence of guidelines in the environments of childcare centers. read more

Study finds low levels of physical activity in Brazil

A new paper in the Journal of the American Heart Association reports that many Brazilian citizens are not taking enough advantage of the health benefits of exercise. The analysis of data from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health finds that in a sample of more than 10,500 adults (civil servants aged 35 to 74 free of cardiovascular diseases), only 21 percent of women and 29 percent of men were active in their leisure time by international standards. In the U.S., for comparison, more than 50 percent of people in 2014 were active by those standards, which call for 150 minutes of moderate weekly physical activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity.  READ MORE

Psychosocial Mediators of a Theory-Based Resistance Training Maintenance Intervention for Prediabetic Adults

This study published in Psychology & Health by David Williams, Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and colleagues, examines psychosocial mediators of the effects of high vs. low-dose resistance training maintenance interventions among older, overweight, and pre-diabetic adults. read more