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Research in the Department of Kinesiology and Public Health

In our department, students and faculty work cohesively together in a supportive academic environment to study everything from the effects of pregnancy on a family to the best method to teach children healthy exercise habits. Below are just a few examples of the research in which Kinesiology and Public Health students are involved. 

Active Family Center for Health Research

The Center for Health Research is facilitating transdisciplinary research in the prevention and treatment of obesity and related chronic diseases. Read more about the Center for Health Research at Cal Poly.

pregnant woman with appleGestational Diabetes Prevention Program

Dr. Suzanne Phelan received a $3 million NIH grant to conduct a research project aimed at preventing gestational diabetes. Dr. Phelan and her research team are recruiting women who had gestational diabetes in their first pregnancy.  Read more about gestational diabetes prevention.

stock lab imageInvestigating Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

Dr. Todd Hagobian and his team of researchers hope a newly received American Diabetes Association grant will allow them to further explore the unknown environmental and chemical causes of type 2 diabetes, and eventually help make public health recommendations to help reduce the disease's prevalence. Read more about Dr. Hagobian's research.

Baby eating a carrotPreventing Obesity During Early Childhood

Dr. Alison Ventura is currently conducting several studies aimed at understanding the familial factors that influence children's eating and health behaviors, with the ultimate goal of promoting healthy parent-child interactions and childhood growth trajectories. Read more about early childhood health and nutrition research at Cal Poly. 

Cyclist In Research StudyCycling Biomechanics Research

Dr. Bob Clark's research examines methods to increase performance for competitive cyclists and triathletes from a biomechanics perspective. For example, in the cycling lab, he and his research team examine the specific effects of chain ring design (circular vs oval) on power output and metabolic cost. They also look into the effects of motor learning strategies involving feedback and instruction. For example, cyclists are shown in real time the torque production during stationary cycling and how deliberate focus on pedaling alters their power output. Read more about Dr. Clark's biomechanics research.

Young couple holding handsHealthy Relationships in Adolescents and Young Adults

Dr. Christine Hackman has been conducting research on violence prevention and healthy relationship promotion in college students for the past several years.  Her current focus is on preventing sexual assault by shifting focus from the individual to the greater community. Read more about Dr. Hackman's healthy relationships research.

Active FamilyImpacts of Sedentary Behavior and Inactivity on Health

Dr. Sarah Keadle has used both observational and experimental studies to understand the impact of too much sitting and too little exercise on risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. She has a strong interest in using new technology to better measure activity-behaviors in order to improve our understanding of how these behaviors relate to health. Read more about Dr. Keadle's research.

Psychosocial and Behavioral Predictors of Chronic Disease

Dr. Marilyn Tseng and colleagues are investigating the psychosocial and behavioral predictors of chronic disease in Chinese immigrants. Read more about health research at Cal Poly.

 sexual healthMaternal and Child Health Issues

Dr. Joni Roberts studies maternal and child health issues surrounding the preconception, conception, and postpartum periods of a woman's life. Cultural beliefs, implicit bias and health disparities impacting prenatal and maternal health care. She examines the complexities of sexual health decision making among young adults and the impact those decisions have on milestone accomplishment. Her current focus is on understanding the negative effects of hormonal contraception and its impact on young adults contraceptive choice.

One quality issue affecting many resources is advice not being consistent with national physical activity guidelines.Dr. Jafra Thomas

Greetings :) My research is to promote healthy and active lifestyles for all. One focus I have is on the quality of resources (e.g., web articles). I answer questions like these: How easy are messages to understand? How well is motivation targeted? How "do-able" is advice? The answers can help us to promote equity. Students help me with research in many ways. Talk with me about how you may help, too. For example, through volunteering, student-led projects, and mentor programs like BEACoN and Frost. To learn more about my work, read this short press release. ~Warm regards, Dr. Jafrā D. Thomas

Once quality issue affecting many resources is advice not being consistent with national physical activity guidelines.Psychosocial Aspects of Sport

Dr. Stefanee Maurice and her lab have several ongoing projects focused on improving various outcomes for athletes, coaches, and officials as well as the training experiences of sport psychology consultants. Research focusing on athletes centers on the psychology of injury (e.g., re-injury anxiety, social support) and collegiate student-athletes' career readiness as they transition out of sport. Dr. Maurice also investigates how coaches can provide better social support to injured athletes to improve rehabilitation experiences and athlete outcomes. Additionally, Dr. Maurice examines the supports and barriers that exist for female sport officials, especially those officiating sports played by men.

Alber ResearchHealth Communication Research

Dr. Julia Alber studies how to develop and test social media messages to promote healthy behaviors. Her research primarily focuses on promoting cancer prevention behaviors (e.g., HPV vaccination, cancer screening). Her past research has examined using existing social media data to inform the development of HPV vaccine messages. She is currently examining how the inclusion of health facts and video length affect outcomes for hepatitis B screening videos. She is also examining how to frame messages to promote e-cigarette control policies.

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