Physical Activity & Fitness

Our research activities include community-based collaborations and investigations of physical activity and fitness initiatives to enhance the health of urban youth.

Through collaborations with community partners, we strive to improve physical activity, fitness, and lifestyle behaviors that enhance health and reduce the risks for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease among urban residents, particularly youth. We continue to work collaboratively with the St. Louis Public Schools and the City of St. Louis Department of Health to implement novel initiatives that address lifestyle-related, modifiable health threats facing St. Louis residents.

physical activity and fitness

St. Louis City is committed to reduce obesity by 5% by 2018


Faculty Investigators

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


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

Student Members

Katie Mocca, DPT Student
Taylor Carpenter, DPT Student
Chelsea Gemme, DPT Student

Current Research Studies

Obesity Surveillance in St. Louis
Funding Source: City of St. Louis Department of Health

As part of the Obesity Plan initiated by the City of St. Louis Department of Health, we are assessing the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and severe obesity among youth and adults throughout the City of St. Louis.

AIM for Fitness
Funding Source: U.S. Department of Education

The goals of this project are to implement a comprehensive, enhanced physical education curriculum and to evaluate its impact on student health, fitness, and lifestyle behaviors. Our research team plays an integral role in performing fitness and body composition assessments, managing and analyzing data, preparing summary reports for distribution to the U.S. Department of Education and the school district, and conducting professional development for physical education teachers.

Urban public schools: influence of environment on child weight status and health indices
Funding Source: Washington University TREC Center, funded by NCI

The major goal is to identify neighborhood and school environmental characteristics associated with obesity and aerobic fitness of urban public elementary school students.

Past research studies

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

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

Physical Activity During PE, Recess, and Throughout the School Day (ICTS TL1)