Physical Activity & Fitness

The focus of our research is the influence of physical activity and exercise patterns on cardiorespiratory fitness and health outcomes in various populations.

Our research involves collaborations with investigators both within and outside of Washington University, as well as with community partners in St. Louis. These collaborative activities encompass investigations of an intensive cardiac rehabilitation program, novel nutrition-based therapies to improve aerobic capacity in patients with heart failure, metabolic studies of cardiac metabolism and function, longitudinal assessments of aerobic capacity among youth with obesity and adults with heart failure, and public health research exploring relationships of environmental factors with fitness and obesity among urban youth.

BMI-for-age graphs showing cross-sectional BMI data for 3900 female students (A) and 4000 male students (B) attending the St. Louis Public Schools. Each symbol represents the BMI value of a single student.

Faculty Investigators

Susan B. Racette, PhD
B. Ruth Clark, PT, PhD

Staff

Mary L. Uhrich, MS
Tiffany C. Dill, OTD, MPH

Student Members

Taylor Carpenter, DPT Student
Chelsea Gemme, DPT Student
Kristin Montgomery, AHBR Student
Elaina Stover, DPT Student

Publication Links

Susan Racette:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/browse/collection/45965305/?sort=date&direction=descending
B. Ruth Clark:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/18sFm9iinZ5kq/bibliography/45672142/public/?sort=date&direction=descending

Current Research Studies

JIT439M (Peterson, LR)
Washington University ICTS
02/16/2017 – 02/15/2018
Dietary Nitrates for Heart Failure

1R34 HL138253 (Peterson, LR)
NIH / NHLBI
08/01/2017 – 07/31/2020
The Inorganic Nitrate for Exercise in Heart Failure (iNIX-HF) Trial

3966 (Peterson, LR)
Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital
10/1/2016 – 06/30/2018
Intensive cardiac rehabilitation (ICR) with the Pritikin program: tolerability and effectiveness

R25 HL105400 (Rao, DC)
NIH / NHLBI
09/20/2010 – 05/31/2018
PRIDE Summer Institute in Cardiovascular Genetic Epidemiology

Past research studies

Influence of environment on child weight status and health indices (NCI, Washington University TREC Center)

Obesity Surveillance in St. Louis (City of St. Louis Department of Health)

AIM for Fitness (U.S. Department of Education)

Nourishing an Urban Community: Phase I (Washington University Institute for Public Health)

Nourishing an Urban Community II (St. Louis Regional Health Commission: The St. Louis Community/University Health Research Partnership)