High-quality nutrition and physical activity are fundamental in optimal growth and development. Correspondingly, suboptimal nutrition and exercise are causative factors in the development of obesity, and improvement of these factors are vital for the reversal of obesity and its related disturbances in metabolism. There are both independent and synergistic effects of nutrition and physical activity on metabolism and growth. The 1800 ft2 ACNC Fitness Facility was established in 2013 to support ACNC investigators conduct studies of physical activity and exercise in growth and development.
A Fully-outfitted Fitness Facility
Four treadmills, Four recumbent bikes, and Four elliptical machines. Easily adjustable equipment for resistance exercise that facilitates studies in pregnant women and in children. Intensity can be closely monitored through heart rate monitors. Floor space for free play, directed activities and class activities. Step benches, medicine balls, free weights, smaller gym equipment and mats are also available.
Elisabet Borsheim, Ph.D., Core Director Eva Diaz, M.D., MMSc, Instructor Alvin Dupens III, BS, Exercise Trainer Timothy J. Edwards, MS, Exercise Physiologist Catarina Young, BS, Research Assistant
Projects Supported by the Core
Based on data collected at ACNC, children of obese mothers may be predisposed to obesity. In one of the ongoing studies supported by the Core, children born to lean, overweight or obese mothers are tested for endurance and strength in the laboratory as part of detailed phenotyping.
The aim of the Expecting study is to determine if exercise training through the pregnancy can attenuate negative effects of obesity on the mothers and their babies. Obese sedentary women are randomized to standard of care or exercise training during pregnancy. The women in the exercise group come to the Fitness Facility three times per week for aerobic and resistance training under direction of a trainer. They are tested for fitness in the Laboratory for Active Kids and Families before and after three months of training.
As the rates of pediatric obesity in Arkansas are among the highest in the US, the Laboratory for Active Kids and Families supports studies to determine underlying mechanisms. In a USDA/ARS-funded study, children go through a battery of exercise tests combined with assessment of other metabolic variables to determine the independent impact of weight status, physical activity and physical fitness, respectively, on overall cardiometabolic health. The study is also aiming for identifying household, environmental, and socio-demographic factors associated with weight status and metabolic health.