Mission & Philosophy

The physical activity and public health laboratory mission is to conduct research to understand and promote physical activity in a variety of settings and populations through community-based approaches. Lab activities include qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection, intervention development and design, evaluation of outcomes and processes, and analysis. The lab philosophy includes the consideration of community-based participatory methods, culturally tailored programs and studies, and dissemination and sustainability of evidence-based programs.

Why Use a Public Health Approach?

Population-level problems require population-level solutions

  • Rates of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic conditions are becoming increasingly prevalent in this country
  • Negative health behaviors contribute the morbidity and mortality associated with these conditions
  • Certain groups of the population are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases related to physical inactivity

How Do We Approach Research?

There are many influences on physical activity patterns, ranging from individual level to the physical environment or macro-level policies. We aim to

  1. Understand and document the range of influences on physical activity participation
  2. Use a theoretical framework to develop a comprehensive understanding of behavior
  3. Develop, implement and evaluate appropriate intervention strategies to improve physical activity behavior and the social and physical environment related to physical activity