February 28 - 29, 2008 Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Research Recommendations

Edward Howley, Ph.D., reviewed preliminary recommendations for future research. Dr. Howley noted that there is a great deal of information and data already which allowed conclusions to be drawn in a number of areas. However, there is still a great deal that is unknown. Current information does not answer whether increased participation in physical activity affects classroom performance. It is also unknown how much physical activity is enough to improve health outcomes in disabled populations. There is no evidence if physical activity can prevent gestational diabetes and we cannot determine what mode of activity is the best.

There are common research needs across all areas among the committee. More research is needed to determine relationship of gender, age, race, ethnicity and disabled populations and potential differences in physical activity recommendations. Because most studies apply a standard dose amount of 30 minutes or 60 minutes it would be helpful to have studies research the effect of lower doses. When assessing and collecting information it would be beneficial to have more uniform methods for collecting and expressing data as well as more objective monitoring of physical activity.

The following specific research needs were identified:

  • Youth
    Additional research on the dose-response effect on excess adiposity, bone health, cardiovascular health, metabolic health and academic achievement.

  • All-Cause Mortality
    More studies are needed to better define the shape of the dose-response curve as well as determining the point in the curve where no further risk reduction exits.

  • Disability
    Data is needed to determine FITT of physical activity associated with specific health outcomes and reductions in secondary conditions. There is also a need for adequately powered RCTs.

  • Adverse Events
    More information is needed to better study the progression of starting and exercise program and incrementally increasing the dose. More information is also needed to study the risks associated with walking and does development of an activity plan with a health care provider help reduce adverse events?

  • Functional Health
    Research is needed to determine if physical activity prevents or delays the onset of functional limitations. Also we do not know if physical activity reduces the risk of injurious falls or if multi-modal physical activity is better.

  • Energy Balance
    We do not know if physical activity is linked to weight stability for those in normal BMI range. It would also be helpful to use state-of-art technology along with complete energy balance designs to look at weight regain after weight loss. More studies are also needed on those most susceptible to weight gain.

  • Mental Health
    More studies are needed that are focused on those at high risk of mental disorders. It would also be beneficial to have more frequent measurement of exposures and outcomes to model change. Additional data is needed to compare features of physical activity interventions and its setting.

  • Cardio-respiratory Health
    We currently do not know the effect of physical activity on vascular health. Additional information is needed to better study the resistance training dose on cardio-respiratory health. Studies also need to time course of changes.

  • Metabolic Health
    More information is needed to study the relation of physical activity to preventing Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular outcomes associated with diabetes. Data is needed to determine the role of physical activity in the prevention and treatment of gestational diabetes.

  • Musculoskeletal Health
    It would be helpful to compare physical activity to anti-resorptive therapy on prevention of fractures. More information is needed to determine optimal FITT associated with benefits and increased symptoms of arthritis. Future research should evaluate the relationship of specific modes of physical activity to preventing age-associated decline in skeletal muscle mass.

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