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Howdy! Welcome to our most recent issue of On the Move! We started OTM a few years ago to let our students, faculty, alumni, and colleagues know about some of the amazing activities, programs, and research that are taking place in the Department of Health & Kinesiology (HLKN) at Texas A&M University. This fall, we welcomed a record of over 1,000 new freshman, undergraduate transfer students and new graduate students to our department! In total, we have over 3,500 undergraduate majors, 285 graduate majors, and 340 minors studying in our department this fall. We also welcome the following new faculty and staff. In celebration of the SEC Symposium on Obesity Prevention, we have highlighted some of the research and outreach programs being conducted in our department that focus on obesity, physical activity, and health. The relationship of physical activity and nutrition on reducing obesity and risk to chronic disease is central to our research and community outreach efforts. We do this by promoting physical activity on campus that includes offering physical education activity courses to over 25,000 students per year; offering health and fitness screening through our FitLife program; conducting research on the genetic influences of physical activity and nutrition; assessing the role of exercise and nutritional interventions on metabolism; and, applied clinical research on exercise and nutritional interventions to promote fat loss while maintaining fat free mass and resting energy expenditure. I hope you enjoy reading about some of our obesity prevention research and activities in this special issue of On the Move. I encourage you to stay up to date about our department by visiting our website and following us through our social media outlets. Together, we are building truly a remarkable department that is transforming lives in numerous ways! Gig ‘em, Richard B. Kreider, Ph.D., FACSM, FISSN, FACN Professor & Head



Contents Building For The Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 New facilities highlight continued growth

Texas A&M Proclaimed Most Visable Research Institution ������������������������������������������4 Faculty Fellow Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Dr. Claude Bouchard

Research Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance

Centers, Labs and Institutes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Engagement in research work is a goal for faculty in HLKN

Brining Aging Research To Real Patient Care










The latest from CTRAL

Weighing In On Weight Loss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 ESNL researchers compare various weight loss plans

It’s In The Genes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Researchers explore connections between genetics and exercise

Understanding Health Matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The Child and Adolescent Research Lab strives to help kids live healthier lives

Sanchez Falls For Skydiving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 When not in the lab, Brittany Sanchez competes as a skydiver

18 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Recent Abstracts .


WRITING AND PHOTOGRAPHY: Dell Billings, Kathy Koza, Chelsea Reber EDITING: Dominique Benjamin, Allison LaRocca DESIGN: Emily Carlton

Building For The Future Texas A&M University continues to lead the nation in encouraging exercise and fighting obesity. A number of new and future buildings will continue that commitment. PEAP Building The Physical Education Activity Program Building,

The Physical Education Activity Program (PEAP) Building is a campus wide partnership between the Departments of Health and Kinesiology, Recreational Sports and Aggie Athletics. The 115,000 square foot facility’s uses span from recreation to instruction for students. Breaking ground in May 2012, the facility was completed in time for the 2013 fall semester at a cost of $25 million. The grand opening celebration included numerous dignitaries, including then Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin. The PEAP Building is unique because of the amount of students who will eventually use it. At some point in their college career, virtually every student will take classes from PEAP and will walk through those doors. “Almost no other building on campus, with the exception of the Memorial Student Center, touches every student at Texas A&M,” Loftin says.

An aerial view of the PEAP Builing.

The main court on the first floor can be converted to 12 badminton courts, six volleyball courts, four basketball courts or variations of all three. Other features include weight rooms, areas for boot camp, dance, fencing, judo, gymnastics, Pilates, self-defense, sports conditioning and yoga. Archery facilities and lighted running area are located outside, while special use rooms are available for meetings and classes. The PEAP Building also provides opportunities for students to use more on


campus fitness facilities after normal class hours. An estimated 25,000 students yearly receive fitness and health advances through PEAP. When combined with the thousands of additional students taking advantage of facilities at the Student Recreation Center, the wellness of the campus student population looks bright. Player Development Center-West Campus Our Applied Exercise Science Laboratory and the Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance are part of the new 22,000-square-foot Player Development Center-West Campus (PDC-WC) facility. Occupying approximately 5,000 square feet, it has over $500,000 worth of state-of-theart equipment to support exercise science research. The new lab incorporates many advances in technology including an ultrasound system for cardiac and muscle imaging studies, an aquatic treadmill with cameras below the surface, new equipment to analyze body composition and a BL-2 Level blood chemistry testing area. The goal of the AESL is to train graduate and undergraduate students for professions in clinical exercise physiology, sports medicine, sports physiology, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, worksite fitness and health promotion. The AESL also serves the community through the FITLIFE Exercise Program. Local firefighters, law-enforcement, and employees and students of Texas A&M are given the opportunity to receive a sophisticated and economical assessment of cardiovascular disease risk. The program also conducts exercise classes to improve overall fitness.

New facilities highlight continued growth Human Clinical Research Center First envisioned by HLKN, a university facility for conducting human clinical research trials is also on the horizon. The Human Clinical Research Center (HCRC) will serve as a core facility for Texas A&M faculty interested in human research collaboration and improving the university’s ability to conduct biomedical research. This 22,000 square foot building will provide 12 beds to run in-residence overnight stay clinical trials, wet labs for conducting clinical assays, office and rehabilitation, assessment and education facilities. The Exercise and

Sport Nutrition Laboratory and the Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity will serve as anchors for the new facility. The College of Education and Human Development, the Division of Research, the Office of the Provost and the Office of the President of Texas A&M are contributing to funding for the HCRC. Ground breaking for the HCRC is expected in mid-2015.

The Player Development Center-West Campus (above) houses the Applied Exercise Science Laboratory and elements of the Huffines Institute. The artist’s rendering of the Human Clinical Research Center (below) is an early design and the final approved appearance may change.


Texas A&M Proclaimed Most Visible Research Institution The Research Consortium of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) reports that Texas A&M University is its most visible institution, covering a period of nearly 20 years.

“Perhaps the biggest impact this recognition has on the department is that it reinforces the view that HLKN provides an environment that supports its faculty to become leading researchers in their respective fields,” Dr. Xiang said.

In support of researchers, AAHPERD hosts an annual national convention at which peerreviewed research findings are presented, and since 1992, the organization has published research abstracts in the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.

George Cunningham, PhD, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and sport management professor, ranked ninth on the list.

From 1992 through 2011, high-visibility institutions and researchers were identified on the basis of published research abstract frequency. The Department of Health & Kinesiology (HLKN) at Texas A&M wrote more than 200 research abstracts – more than any of the Top 20 high-visibility institutions in the United States. Ping Xiang, PhD, a professor in the Department, ranked fourth on the list of Top 20 high-visibility researchers with 58 publications.


“HLKN has long had a commitment to engaging in meaningful scholarship that impacts the discipline and societal members. The results of this study really show the fruits of our labor and that the work in which we engage can meaningfully impact people’s health and well-being,” Dr. Cunningham said. “The recognition will further strengthen the visibility of HLKN in the field of health, physical activity, and exercise sciences, which in turn will contribute to attracting outstanding graduate students,” Dr. Xiang added. Texas A&M was followed by Ohio State, Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Wayne State and Louisiana State, who closed out the top five.

Faculty Fellow Profile: Dr. Claude Bouchard The Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS) recently announced its 2014 Faculty Fellows. Annually, the Institute brings renowned scholars to campus for extended visits to interact with faculty and students to enhance the quality and reputation of the University. In this second class of Fellows, Dr. Claude Bouchard joins the HLKN and University family, serving as an in-residence TIAS Faculty Fellow for the Department and College of Education and Human Development. Bouchard will make monthly campus visits to meet with faculty and students and discuss current and upcoming research endeavors. Bouchard is director of the Human Genomics Laboratory at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He earned a B.P.Ed from Laval University, MS. from the University of Oregon and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on genetics associated with obesity, including type 2 diabetes and hypertension. He is the author and co-author of several books and more than 1000 scientific papers. Bouchard is a foreign member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium and served as the Leon Mow Visiting Professor at the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne. He is also a member of the Order of Canada as well as Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Medicine at Laval University. Other awards include honoris causa doctorates in science from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), the University of South Carolina, Brock University (Canada), the University of Guelph (Canada) and the University of Ontario. He is a Knight in the Ordre National du Quebec and received the Earle W. Crampton Award in Nutrition from McGill University. Bouchard is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Society of Nutrition, the American Heart Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Among Bouchard’s many awards: • Honor Award from the Canadian Association of Sport Sciences (1988) • Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine (1992) • Benjamin Delessert Award in nutrition from France (1993) • Officer of the Order of Leopold II of Belgium (1994) • Willendorf Award from the International Association for the Study of Obesity (1994) • Sandoz Award from the Canadian Atherosclerosis Society (1996) • Albert Creff Award in Nutrition of the National Academy of Medicine of France (1997) • TOPS Award (1998) • Honor Award from the American College of Sports Medicine (2002) • Friends of Albert J. Stunkard Award (2004) • George A. Bray Founders Award from The Obesity Society (2008) • W. Henry Sebrell Award from the Weight Watchers Foundation (1999) • E.V. McCollum Award from the American Society of Nutrition (2011)


Research Profile:

The Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance The fields of sports medicine and human performance continue to grow rapidly, but associated research findings don’t always make it out to the general public, who stand to benefit from what is learned. The Sydney and J.L. Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance helps to bridge that gap. Under the leadership of Dr. Tim Lightfoot, the Huffines Institute seeks to connect scientists, practitioners and the public in all aspects of human performance. This objective hasn’t changed from years past, but has evolved to included how advance in sports medicine carry over to the health of the general public. Lightfoot, a former chair of the Department of Kinesiology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte continues to lead in highlighting the national prominence of the Institute. “We have provided a great foundation that starts a community of individuals who are interested in investigating, applying and communications about sports medicine,” Lightfoot says.

Huffines Director Dr. Tim Lightfoot participates in weekly podcasts for the Institute.


The Institute produces weekly audio podcasts in the fields of sports, medicine and overall health. The Huffines Discussion, coming up on its fourth year, brings national leaders in the field to campus. Instead of long form discussion, each speaker is limited to 20 minutes to present their research. The event is broadcasted online for those who can’t make it to Aggieland for the talks. “We are here to facilitate research, application and communications between sports scientists, practitioners and the world,” Lightfoot says. For more information about the Institute, visit

Labs, Centers and Institutes Engagement in research work is a goal for faculty in HLKN We have over 20 research lab areas, including 10 wet labs: • Applied Exercise Science Laboratories • Biology of Physical Activity Laboratory • Bone Biology Laboratory • Center for Sport Management Research and Education • Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity • Child & Adolescent Health Research Lab • Child Motor Development Laboratory • Exercise & Sport Nutrition Laboratory • Exercise Genetics Laboratory • Health Promotion and Genomics Lab • Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine & Human Performance • Human Countermeasures Laboratory • Laboratory For Diversity In Sport • Laboratory For The Study Of Intercollegiate Athletics • Motor Behavior Laboratories • Muscle Biology Laboratory • Office of Digital Learning Technologies • Redox Biology & Cell Signaling Laboratory • Space Life Sciences Graduate Training Program • Transdisciplinary Center For Health Equity Research • Vascular Biology Laboratory Learn learn more about our research facilities, visit

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Bringing Aging Research To Real Patient Care A burgeoning research program at Texas A&M University is focused on finding new treatments for older adults and extending the lives of patients of all ages. The Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity (CTRAL) has a goal of taking research beyond the laboratory and into the real world. CTRAL Director Nicolaas Deutz, M.D., Ph.D., Co-director Marielle Engelen, Ph.D. and their team of supportive, science and medical personnel have aspirations for the facility to become a full-fledged research center where the knowledge gained from research will be translated into care and clinical practice. “From bench to bedside, and beyond,” says Deutz in defining translational research. “It means that the research done here is being translated into something meaningful.” Research will be focused on nutrition, exercise and metabolism related to aging and the common diseases of the aging population. Findings will be used to treat patients with a variety of diseases including breast and lung cancer, cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). “We’re working to develop nutritional supplements and exercise protocols to improve their overall condition and make them as strong as possible while they’re managing their disease,” explains Deutz. “For someone about to start chemotherapy, for example, we could help them get into optimal condition before chemo and that will help them throughout the process.” The group’s work will not only benefit the aged population, says Engelen, but will

CTRAL Director Dr. Nicolaas Deutz and Co-director Dr. Marielle Engelen.


improve the health and longevity of people of all ages. “There are children with CF who have a life expectancy of 38 and we are working to improve their health so they can live longer. Longevity is about all people living long and healthy lives,” she explains. The group’s work in nutrition can not only improve a patient’s physical health, say the researchers, but their mental health as well. “Patients with serious diseases such as cancer are often depressed and that may be related to a lack of certain amino acids,” says Engelen. “There are nutritional approaches to treating depression and that is something we are working on.” CTRAL’s future plans include consulting patients and physicians, produce nutritional supplements and devise healthy eating and exercise plans. “People that are fighting a disease or just looking to be healthier as they get older should visit our website,” notes Deutz. Deutz says a translational research approach to aging and longevity is not being used in very many places and will add a new dynamic to the area’s health services industry, supplementing and complementing patients’ medical care. Learn more at

Weighing In On Weight Loss ESNL researchers compare the efficacy of various weight loss plans With so many weight loss plans out there, it can be hard to find the right one. Researchers at the Exercise & Sport Nutrition Laboratory (ESNL) are investigating what weight loss routine works best for women. Lab researchers are conducting a study, funded by Curves International, to compare different weight loss plans. Women involved in the research come from diverse backgrounds and a wide range of age groups (18-70 years old). “It’s a unique age range that we get to work with, and they’re from all different walks of life,” says Claire Baetge, research assistant and doctoral student. In the 12-week study, researchers utilize different weight loss protocols and monitor changes in participants’ muscle and body fat. The Curves program, which includes an exercise component, is measured against the results of three other plans. “Several health markers are tested, such as blood work and treadmill, strength and bone density testing, to see how those markers change,” Claire says.

loss, and participants continue to reap the rewards of better health. “They feel successful, and many have not exercised before,” Brittanie says. “Having this kind of environment for them has re¬ally been embraced by the program.” Claire has enjoyed the positive feedback from participants as they lose weight. “It’s been really wonderful just seeing what motivates each person specifically,” she says.

Researchers Claire Baetge (below) and Brittanie Lockard (above) are part of a team investigating what weight loss methods work best for women.

Brittanie, who considered becoming a nurse after college, likes the daily interaction with people and helping them become proactive in leading healthy lives. “My goal has been to deal with people before they need medication and to encour¬age them to maintain good health,” she says. “I am a people person, and I love to see the transformation happen.” Learn more about the ESNL at http://

According to Brittanie Lockard, research assistant and doctoral student, early results from the Curves program show weight loss coming from body fat while maintaining important muscle mass. “They may not lose as much weight as some of the other plans, but it is the type of weight you want to lose and may be able to sustain,” Brittanie says. The research of the Curves study is part of the mission of the ESNL—to help people worldwide live healthier and happier lives. Participants can choose to continue their involvement in the study, and many do. The ESNL benefits by having better results on who was able to maintain their weight


It’s In The Genes Researchers explore connections between genetics and exercise We rarely get to see the inner workings of our own bodies. To unravel the mysteries of what’s happening inside, exercise physiology scientists in the Department of Health and Kinesiology are exploring the connections between genetics, exercise and health to help promote healthy lifestyles, from the inside. In separate studies, researchers John Lawler, Michael Massett and Christopher Woodman are identifying the genes that influence how people respond to exercise training, examining blood vessel function and investigating cardiovascular disease at the cellular level. “One thing we’ve focused on in the last 30 to 40 years in the area of exercise, and particularly with aging, is the notion that people are really suited to being active throughout their entire lives,” said John Lawler, professor and director of the Redox Biology and Cell Signaling Lab. “We have the genes of hunter-gatherers, and that really hasn’t changed much in 40-100,000 thousand years.” Inactivity turns on genes that can lead to or are associated with chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart disease, type II diabetes. In children, inactivity is more likely to start turning on genes that lead to type II diabetes and obesity. “We are starting to see early signs of atherosclerosis or heart disease in teens,” cautions Lawler. “That’s scary. We are predisposing ourselves to more children with chronic diseases that may also drive up health care costs. It doesn’t have to be this way.” The lab is investigating the effects of physical inactivity on muscles, the role of pro-oxidants in normal skeletal muscle and whether combination therapies, such as diet and exercise, can reduce the amount of drugs and medication typically used to manage chronic diseases. Lawler’s goal is to provide the means to manage these diseases, improve peoples’ lives


and reduce the time and money spent on trying to cure or eliminate the incidences of chronic diseases. The interest in exercise and fitness in the U.S. really started in the 1950s. Research studies on soldiers stationed in Europe during World War II found they were getting fewer chronic diseases related to diet, exercise and lifestyle, compared to Americans during the same time. “By the 1960s, people had begun exercising more, but the treatments for orthopedic injuries or cardiac rehab were about the same—rest and disuse,” notes Lawler. “What we know now is completely the opposite. While prevention is always important, we need to get active with rehabilitation therapies.” So, should senior adults expect a sentence of disuse and chronic disease? That isn’t necessarily the case, even though aging is a big risk factor in all the major chronic diseases. As people age, underlying chronic diseases, such as cancer, type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease, can lead to reduced activity and toward skeletal muscle wasting. “We know some of the mechanisms, and those have to do with oxidative stress and inflammation,” said Lawler. In association with a National Science Foundation project, and in collaboration with a number of labs, they studied data from research on a variety of diving mammals in the wild and rats and mice in a controlled environment. Tracked over a lifetime, the mammals in the wild became larger as they aged, but the muscles adapted. They were a little slower and stiffer due to some fibrosis, but had no indications of sarcopenia (muscle loss with aging). “We thought the diving animals would have a lot more oxidative stress and damage when they were older, but they didn’t,” said Lawler. “So, it was frequency of activity, not intensity that mattered over the entire life span.”

As we slow down or with chronic disease, the muscles have a hard time repairing themselves. Part of the repair cycle has to do with environment. A long-term sedentary lifestyle may make it more difficult for muscles to repair. Lawler thinks if they can change the environment, perhaps the muscle can respond better. Cardiovascular Health For the last 17 years, associate professor Christopher Woodman’s research focus has been the risk of cardiovascular disease increasing with age. Around age 45 for men and age 55 for women, cardiovascular health begins to decline. “What our research reveals is those who exercise regularly over a lifetime can extend the age at which cardiovascular health begins to decline,” said Woodman. “These same people decline at a much slower rate than their peers who don’t exercise.” Woodman said exercise could reverse the damage to this system that’s caused by aging that will make one less likely to have heart disease to begin with. “Exercise is the best medicine,” said Woodman. “If you aren’t exercising – start. If you think you’re too old – you’re not. It’s never too late to start exercising. The benefits are too numerous to count.” With funding support from the National Institutes for Health, assistant professor Michael Massett is identifying genes that determine who is going to respond in a beneficial way to exercise training. “Basically,

the genes you have are the genes you have,” said Massett. “We’re trying to find genes that tell us who is a low responder and who is a high responder to exercise.” For every trait or characteristic, like body weight and other health-related traits, there is a genetic component and environmental factor, such as diet. “If you have a low level of fitness and you are a non-responder for changing exercise capacity, you should still exercise because exercise can produce other beneficial effects,” noted Massett. His team is also identifying the genes that determine normal blood vessel function, the differences between good and poor vessel function and the effects of exercise to improve function. “When you have cardiovascular disease, your endothelial cells don’t function properly and you get plaque build up,” said Massett. “If these cells are not functioning properly, you’re more likely to get atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), one of the leading causes of heart attack.” That’s why Massett recommends exercise. “You can improve endothelial cell function with exercise to keep these blood vessels healthy, potentially prevent these cells from going bad or even reverse the damage.” And good vascular cell health is one reason why we should exercise. “While we know a lot about exercise, it’s been studied at the genetic level much less,” said Massett. “That’s why continued support of biomedical research like this is important to provide intervention, improve quality of life and help keep people healthy.”


Understanding Health Matters The Child and Adolescent Research Lab strives to help kids live healthier lives Childhood obesity and illness rates continue to grow. Yet many school have decreased or eliminated physical and health education programs due to tight budgets or to make more time for academics.

The Child and Adolescent Research Laboratory was founded by Dr. E. Lisako J. McKyer.

E. Lisako McKyer and students from the Child and Adolescent Health Research Laboratory (CAHRL) are looking for answer to these problems. The CAHRL is a think tank for studying things such as literacy and health outcomes,” says Lisako, lab director and assistant professor of health education. The key is ensuring families understand all the factors that affect a child’s health. For example, Lisako notes children may understand that something is healthy for them, but not how it benefits them. “If you tell kids to eat their carrots because they are good for them, they may not care. But you tell them carrots will improve their jumps shot or help them pedal faster, that resonates.” The CAHRL participates in a number of community-wide events. The lab is involved in the UP-BEAT Youth Health Leadership Program, showing kids’ activities that are fun and good for them. The lab also volunteers for the Bryan ISD Back to School Bash, providing free backpacks and school supplies. “What we love about this event is we help hundreds of kids locally,” Lisako says. Graduate and undergraduate students working in the CAHRL receive handson, real-world experience aiding and educating others on health issues. Many are preparing to enter medicine, social work and other fields.

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“Overwhelmingly, for every one of them, the lab is where they take what they learned in the classroom, apply it and help people,” Lisako says. She takes pride in the number of students of color who have completed doctoral work in the lab, including several black and Latino women. “At a non-historically black college or university, that’s unheard of,” Lisako says. “I’m very proud of what our lab has managed to do, butting excellently trained scholars out in the world.” “I want the lab to be the place where people, who want to learn a comprehensive and holistic approach to infant and child health, come to get the skills they need to make a difference,” she adds. “Then I want them to go out and spread that message. The Child & Adolescent Health Research Lab is part of the Transdisciplinary Center for Health Equity Research, where Dr. McKyer serves as director. For more information about CAHRL and TCHER, visit

Sanchez Falls for Skydiving When not in the lab, Ph.D student Brittany Sanchez competes as a skydiver Brittany Sanchez will admit she was hesitant when she received a skydiving jump as a birthday present from her father. However, it only took one jump for her to change her mind. “It was his idea, and I was a little hesitant,” Brittany said. “But as soon as I hit the ground, the first thing I asked was when can I go again.” The exercise physiology Ph.D. student fellow from Houston continued to make jumps and is now part of the team that won a gold medal at the 2011 U.S. Parachute Association National Skydiving Championships in Arizona. “The draw originally was just the pure thrill,” Brittany said. “Now I’m more intrigued in the different disciplines it has to offer.” The best teams from around the country come to the event, which is the Super Bowl of skydiving. Brittany’s team won gold in eight-way formation skydiving, considered one of the most difficult disciplines. The team jumps from the aircraft more than two miles above ground. The objective is to complete as many different formations, or points, in free-fall within 45 seconds. Brittany’s role is the camera flyer. She films the formations and makes sure that the judges can see everything to be scored. The job comes with a great amount of responsibility. If judges are unable to see a maneuver because it is not caught on tape, the team can receive point deductions.

“If the judges can’t see a point, it’s on me,” Brittany said. “No pressure.” Teams perform ten jumps to get a final score. On the last jump, Brittany’s team was leading and had a solid final jump. So solid a jump, that they were confident they would be taking home gold. “We knew we won when we landed,” Brittany said. “In fact, one of my teammates, as I’m filming after the skydive, does a backflip. We knew it right then!” When she’s not jumping, Brittany can be found working in the Exercise & Sport Nutrition Lab (ESNL). Eventually she would like to do either full-time research with an institution or a faculty research position.

Brittany Sanchez is the “camera flyer” for her skydiving team, responsible for taping all formations for the judges.

The learning experience at Texas A&M has fulfilled my expectations and then some,” Brittany said. “The faculty has been an absolute joy to work with.” But with team training, working in the ESNL and working as a math lab coordinator in the Student Learning Center, Brittany finds a way to make approximately 600 jumps a year. How does she do it all? “I’ve heard of this phenomenon called sleep,” Brittany laughs. “Fortunately, since most of our training is done on the weekends, I get to devote my time during the week to my studies.”

Brittany prepares for a bridge jump in the Republic of China in 2012.


Recent Abstracts EFFECTS OF ADHERANCE TO HIGHER CARBOHYDRATE OR HIGHER PROTEIN HYPOENERGETIC DIETS WHILE PARTICIPATING IN A RESISTANCE-TRAINING PROGRAM ON OBESE WOMEN WITH AND WITHOUT METABOLIC SYNDROME I B Lockard (Presenting Author), J Oliver, E Galvin, K Levers, V Jagim, A Rivera, M Cho, A Jagim, C Baetge, YP Jung, M Koozehchian, S Springer, J Rhodes, J Waltersheid, CH Chang, A Machac, C Kerksick, C Wilborn, L Taylor, T Magrans-Courtney, M Galbreath, R Li, M Ferreira, C Rasmussen, RB Kreider Exercise & Sport Nutrition Laboratory, Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA. Supported by Curves International, Inc. (Waco, TX) PURPOSE: Resistance-exercise with adherence to a higher protein diet has been reported to promote more optimal changes in body composition during a weight loss program. This study examined whether women with metabolic syndrome (MS) may experience greater benefits. METHODS: 663 sedentary, obese women (46.2±11 yr, 163±7 cm, 92.7±18 kg, 34.8±6 kg/m2) were utilized in this analysis. Participants were assigned either a HP or HC hypoenergetic diet for 10-weeks while participating in a supervised circuit-style resistance-training program (3 days/week). Mean energy intake was 1,425±355 kcal/day while the HP group (N=371) consumed 1.14±0.5, 1.41±0.7, and 0.63±0.3 g/kg/d while the HC group (N=292) consumed 0.78±0.3, 2.20±0.7, and 0.60±0.2 g/kg/d of PRO, CHO, and FAT, respectively. Participants were retrospectively categorized as apparently healthy (AH; N=377) or metabolic syndrome (≥3 MS NCEP-ATP III risk factors; N=286). DEXA body composition, anthropometric measurements, and health assessments were obtained at 0 and 10 weeks. Data were analyzed using MANOVA for repeated measures. RESULTS: The HP group experienced a greater decrease in scanned mass (HP -3.9±3.5, HC -3.0±3.5 kg, p=0.002), fat mass (HP-3.1±2.7, HC -2.4±2.8 kg, p=0.003), weight (HP -4.3±3.6, HC -3.2±3.4 kg, p=0.001), and BMI (HP -1.6±1.3, HC -1.2±1.3 kg/m2, p<0.001), and tended to experience a greater decrease in waist circumference (HP -4.0±5.7, HC -3.2±5.7 cm, p=0.07). Individuals with MS experienced greater decreases in weight (AH -3.6±3.4, MS -4.2±3.6 kg, p=0.054), BMI (AH -1.3±1.3, MS -1.6±1.3 kg/m2, p=0.046), SBP (AH -0.5±13.3, MS -5.9±16.0 mmHg, p<0.001), DBP (AH -0.4±8.9, MS -4.1±10.5 mmHg, p<0.001) and a trend towards a greater decrease in scanned mass (AH -3.9±3.5, MS -3.0±3.5 kg, p=0.07) and lean mass (AH -0.55±2.0, MS -0.88±2.0 kg, p=0.07). Post hoc analysis on delta changes from baseline revealed the HP-AH and HP-MS lost significantly more weight (-4.1±3.5 kg; -4.5±3.6 kg) and BMI (-1.5±1.3; -1.7±1.3 kg/m2) than HC-AH (-3.0±3.2 kg, p=0.003; -1.1±1.2 kg/m2, p=0.003) and HC-MS (-3.6±3.6 kg, p=0.043; -1.4±1.3 kg/m2, p=0.036) respectively. Additionally, both HP-AH (-3.4±5.2) and HC-MS (-3.6±4.8) experienced a significantly greater decrease in hip circumference than HC-AH (-2.1±5.0, p=0.016 and p=0.017 respectively). CONCLUSION: Participants following a HP diet and/or with three or more markers of MS experienced more favorable changes in body composition and markers of health while participating in a supervised resistancebased exercise program.

EFFECTS OF ADHERANCE TO HIGHER CARBOHYDRATE OR HIGHER PROTEIN HYPOENERGETIC DIETS WHILE PARTICIPATING IN A RESISTANCE-TRAINING PROGRAM ON OBESE WOMEN WITH AND WITHOUT METABOLIC SYNDROME II A Coletta (Presenting Author), B Lockard, J Oliver, E Galvin, K Levers, V Jagim, A Rivera, M Cho, A Jagim, C Baetge, YP Jung, M Koozehchian, S Springer, J Rhodes, J Waltersheid, CH Chang, A Machac, C Kerksick, C Wilborn, L Taylor, T Magrans-Courtney, M Galbreath, R Li, M Ferreira, C Rasmussen, RB Kreider Exercise & Sport Nutrition Laboratory, Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA. Supported by Curves International, Inc. (Waco, TX) PURPOSE: Resistance-exercise along with a higher protein diet has demonstrated optimal changes in body composition during a weight loss program. This study examined whether women with metabolic syndrome (MS) experienced greater benefits. METHODS: 663 sedentary, obese women (46.2±11 yr, 163±7 cm, 92.7±18 kg, 34.8±6 kg/m2) were assigned either a high-protein (HP) or high-carbohydrate (HC) hypoenergetic diet for 10-weeks while participating in a supervised resistance-training program (3 days/week). Mean energy intake was 1,425±355 kcal/day, and HP group (N=371) consumed 1.14±0.5, 1.41±0.7, and 0.63±0.3 g/kg/d PRO, CHO, FAT; HC group (N=292)


consumed 0.78±0.3, 2.20±0.7, and 0.60±0.2 g/kg/d, respectively. Participants were retrospectively categorized as apparently healthy (AH; N=377) or MS (≥3 MS NCEP-ATP III risk factors; N=286). Fasting blood samples were obtained at 0 and 10 weeks. Data were analyzed using MANOVA for repeated measures. RESULTS: A significant time (p<0.001), time x MS (p<0.001), and trend for time x diet x MS effect (p=0.09) was observed in blood lipids. Total cholesterol decreased 0.2±0.8 mmol/L (p<0.001) and LDL decreased 0.14±0.6 mmol/L (p<0.001); no significant differences were observed between diet or health status. Triglycerides decreased 0.10±0.6 mmol/L (p<0.001), with MS group experiencing greater reductions (-0.22±0.73) than AH (-0.00±0.47 mmol/L, p<0.001) with no differences between diets. Blood glucose levels decreased 0.10±1.0 mmol/L (p=0.003) with MS experiencing greater decreases (-0.24±1.19) than AH (+0.01±0.73 mmol/L, p=0.001). 252 participants had insulin and homeostatic insulin model (HOMA) determined. Insulin levels were greater in AH (+1.11±6.5) compared to MS (-0.65±12.2 uIU/mL, p=0.07). A time x diet x MS trend (p=0.06) was observed showing an increase in insulin in HC-AH (+1.9±9.4 uIU/mL) compared to a decrease in HC-MS fasting insulin (-2.5±18.6 uIU/mL, p=0.017). HOMA analysis revealed a trend for time x MS effect (p=0.06), where HOMA decreased (-0.29±4.72) compared to increased AH (+0.33±2.0, p=0.06). A significant time x diet x MS effect (p=0.027) was observed revealing significant decrease in HOMA (-1.17±7.2, p=0.03) in HC-MS. CONCLUSION: Participants with ≥ 3 markers of MS may experience greater changes in fasting blood lipids, glucose, insulin, and/or HOMA while participating in a weight loss program. Diet type may also influence the impact on these markers.

INFLUENCE OF FIVE OBESITY RELATED GENE SNPs ON BODY COMPOSITION AND HEALTH MARKERS IN SEDENTARY, OBESE WOMEN B Sanchez (Presenting Author), A Coletta, E Galvan, P Jung, R Dalton, K Levers, M Koozehchian, S Simbo, A O’Connor, A Reyes, S Springer, C Goodenough, M Cho, C Rasmussen, RB Kreider. Exercise & Sport Nutrition Laboratory, Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA. Supported by Curves International, Inc. (Waco, TX) and Interleukin Genetics (Waltham, MA). PURPOSE: Numerous genetic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been suggested as determinants of obesity, health, and biochemical modulation. This study examined whether sedentary, overweight women with SNP allele variants of obesity related metabolic genes (FABP2, PPARG, ADRB2-79, ADRB2-46, ADRB3) had inherent differences in body composition and/or markers of health and fitness. METHODS: 118 sedentary women (38.9±12 yr, 162.7±9 cm, 87.1±22 kg, 32.6±8 kg/m2, 42.2±6% body fat) had BMI, resting heart rate, blood pressure, resting energy expenditure, body composition, peak oxygen uptake (VO2max), and upper- and lower-body muscular strength and endurance measured prior to participating in a weight loss program. Buccal cheek swabs were obtained for genetic testing. Subjects were stratified by SNP genotype for five obesity-related genes. Bivariate correlation analysis and one-way ANOVA with LSD post-hoc analyses were performed. Data are presented as means±SD. RESULTS: BMC was significantly greater in ADRB2-79 [rs1042714 (Gln/Glu)] CG heterozygotes, and tended to be higher in all G allele carriers (CG 1,777±345; GG 1,680±259; CC 1,622±317 g, p=0.02). Additionally, BMD was significantly greater in ADRB2-79 CG heterozygotes (CG 0.99±0.15; GG 0.93±0.08; CC 0.9475±0.08 g/cm2, p=0.03). ADRB2-46 [rs1042713 (Gly/Arg)] GG homozygotes displayed significantly greater BMC, while the homozygous A allele carriers had the lowest (GG 1,745±277; AG 1,724±325; AA 1,543.2±426.69 kg, p=0.04). PPARG [rs1801282 (Pro/Ala)] GG homozygotes displayed significantly greater BMI (GG 41.9±11,1; CG 30.8±6.2; CC 32.9±7.9 kg/m2, p=0.046), body weight (GG 119.2±35.7; CG 82.9±16.5; CC 87.8±23 kg, p=0.02), and lean mass (GG 55.1±6.9; CG 42.7±7.2; CC 44.17±8.6 kg, p=0.04). Regarding fitness, ADRB2-79 CG heterozygotes had greater upper body muscular strength (CG 33.9±8.7; CC 29.2±7.1; GG 32.9±9.3 kg, p=0.01) and VO2max (CG 2.03±0.36; CC 1.86±0.29; GG 1.92±0.43 L/min, p=0.03), with a trend favoring G allele carriers on both exercise parameters. VO2max was significantly greater in FABP2 [rs1799883 (Ala/Thr)] AA homozygotes (AA 2.16±0.45; GG 1.89±0.35; AG 1.89±0.35 L/min, p=0.04). ADRB3 significantly correlated with percent body fat (r=-0.232, p=0.02), waist circumference (r=-0.183, p=0.04), and relative VO2max (r=0.19, p=0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Allele patterns encoding amino acids at selected SNP positions on ADRB2-79, ADRB246, PPARG, FABP2, and ADRB3 may determine differences in body composition and/or fitness markers in sedentary, obese women.


Texas A&M University 4243 TAMU College Station, TX 77843-4243

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