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1.  The impact of an exercise intervention on C - reactive protein during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial 
C-reactive protein (CRP) during pregnancy has been associated with adverse maternal outcomes such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes mellitus. Randomized trials suggest that exercise programs may be associated with reductions in CRP in non-pregnant populations; however, such studies have not been conducted among pregnant women. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of an individually-tailored motivationally-matched exercise intervention on CRP in pregnant women.
The Behaviors Affecting Baby and You study was a randomized controlled trial of prenatal physical activity to prevent the development of gestational diabetes mellitus in women at increased risk. Women were randomized to either a 12-week exercise intervention (n = 84) or a comparison health and wellness intervention (n = 87). High sensitivity CRP (mg/dL) was measured using a commercial immunoassay kit. Physical activity was measured using the Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire. Mixed model analyses were used to evaluate the impact of the intervention on change in CRP using an intent-to-treat approach.
CRP decreased (−0.09 mg/dL, 95 % CI: −0.25, 0.07) from pre- to post-intervention in the exercise arm (p = 0.14) and increased (0.08 mg/dL, 95 % CI: −0.07, 0.24) (p = 0.64) in the health and wellness arm; however the between group difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.14). Findings did not differ according to ethnic group or pre-pregnancy body mass index. In a secondary analysis based on self-reported physical activity, women who decreased their time spent in sports/exercise experienced a mean increase in CRP (0.09 mg/dL, 95 % CI: −0.14, 0.33), whereas women who maintained or increased their sports/ exercise experienced a mean decrease in CRP (−0.08 mg/dL, 95 % CI: −0.23, 0.08) (p = 0.046).
Findings from this randomized trial in an ethnically and socio-economically diverse population of pregnant women were consistent with a positive impact of the exercise intervention on CRP levels, but not of statistical significance.
Clinical trial registration NCT00728377. Registered 2 August 2008.
PMCID: PMC4479080  PMID: 26104503
C-reactive protein; Exercise; Pregnancy; Risk factors; Maternal health
2.  Self-reported and accelerometer physical activity levels and coronary artery calcification progression in older women: Results from the Healthy Women Study 
Menopause (New York, N.Y.)  2013;20(2):152-161.
Regardless of the well-supported biological link between PA and atherosclerosis, most previous studies report a null association between PA and CAC. To examine the relation between physical activity (PA) and coronary artery calcification (CAC) progression in 148 Healthy Women Study (HWS) participants over 28 years of observation.
The HWS was designed to examine cardiovascular risk factor changes from pre- to post-menopause. Based on CAC scores collected at two follow-up visits (EBT1 and EBT4) scheduled 12 years apart, participants were classified into one of three groups: 1) no detectable CAC (n=37; 0 CAC at both visits), 2) incident CAC (n=46; 0 CAC at the first- and >0 CAC at the last- visit), or 3) prevalent CAC (n=65; >0 CAC at both visits). PA data were collected regularly throughout the study using self-report questionnaires and accelerometers at EBT4.
The percentage of HWS participants with no detectible CAC decreased from 56.1% at EBT1 to 25.0% at EBT4. Time spent per day in accumulated and bouts of moderate- to vigorous-intensity (MV)PA were each significantly higher in the no detectable CAC group when compared to the prevalent CAC group (both p≤.01). After covariate adjustment, these differences remained statistically significant (both p<.05). Although self-reported summary estimates collected throughout the study were significantly associated with accelerometer data at EBT4, there were no significant differences in self-reported physical activity levels by CAC groups after covariate adjustment.
Study findings suggest that low levels of accelerometer-derived MVPA may be indicative of subclinical disease in older women.
PMCID: PMC3897237  PMID: 22914209
coronary heart disease; motor activity; ambulatory monitoring; coronary calcification; women
3.  Recruitment of veterans from primary care into a physical activity randomized controlled trial: the experience of the VA-STRIDE study 
Trials  2014;15:11.
Much of the existing literature on physical activity (PA) interventions involves physically inactive individuals recruited from community settings rather than clinical practice settings. Recruitment of patients into interventions in clinical practice settings is difficult due to limited time available in the clinic, identification of appropriate personnel to efficiently conduct the process, and time-consuming methods of recruitment. The purpose of this report is to describe the approach used to identify and recruit veterans from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Pittsburgh Healthcare System Primary Care Clinic into a randomized controlled PA study.
A sampling frame of veterans was developed using the VA electronic medical record. During regularly scheduled clinic appointments, primary care providers (PCPs) screened identified patients for safety to engage in moderate-intensity PA and willingness to discuss the study with research staff members. Research staff determined eligibility with a subsequent telephone screening call and scheduled a research study appointment, at which time signed informed consent and baseline measurements were obtained.
Of the 3,482 veterans in the sampling frame who were scheduled for a primary care appointment during the study period, 1,990 (57.2%) were seen in the clinic and screened by the PCP; moderate-intensity PA was deemed safe for 1,293 (37.1%), 871 (25.0%) agreed to be contacted for further screening, 334 (9.6%) were eligible for the study, and 232 (6.7%) enrolled.
Using a semiautomated screening approach that combined an electronically-derived sampling frame with paper and pencil prescreening by PCPs and research staff, VA-STRIDE was able to recruit 1 in 15 veterans in the sampling frame. Using this approach, a high proportion of potentially eligible veterans were screened by their PCPs.
Trial registration
Clinical identifier: NCT00731094.
PMCID: PMC3923270  PMID: 24398076
Veterans; Primary care; Physical activity; Overweight; Randomized controlled trial
4.  Effects of weight loss and insulin reduction on arterial stiffness in the SAVE trial 
Chronic arterial stiffness contributes to the negative health effects of obesity and insulin resistance, which include hypertension, stroke, and increased cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity are individually associated with improved central arterial stiffness; however, their combined effects on arterial stiffness are poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to determine how insulin levels modify the improvements in arterial stiffness seen with weight loss in overweight and obese young adults.
To assess the effects of weight loss and decreased fasting insulin on vascular stiffness, we studied 339 participants in the Slow the Adverse Effects of Vascular Aging (SAVE) trial. At study entry, the participants were aged 20–45, normotensive, non-diabetic, and had a body-mass index of 25–39.9 kg/m2. Measures of pulse wave velocity (PWV) in the central (carotid-femoral (cfPWV)), peripheral (femoral-ankle (faPWV)), and mixed (brachial-ankle (baPWV)) vascular beds were collected at baseline and 6 months. The effects of 6-month change in weight and insulin on measures of PWV were estimated using multivariate regression.
After adjustment for baseline risk factors and change in systolic blood pressure, 6-month weight loss and 6-month change in fasting insulin independently predicted improvement in baPWV but not faPWV or cfPWV. There was a significant interaction between 6-month weight change and change in fasting insulin when predicting changes in baPWV (p < 0.001). Individuals experiencing both weight loss and insulin reductions showed the greatest improvement in baPWV.
Young adults with excess weight who both lower their insulin levels and lose weight see the greatest improvement in vascular stiffness. This improvement in vascular stiffness with weight loss and insulin declines may occur throughout the vasculature and may not be limited to individual vascular beds.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3468408  PMID: 22998737
Pulse wave velocity; Insulin; Weight loss and arterial stiffness
5.  Objectively measured physical activity of USA adults by sex, age, and racial/ethnic groups: a cross-sectional study 
Accelerometers were incorporated in the 2003–2004 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) study cycle for objective assessment of physical activity. This is the first time that objective physical activity data are available on a nationally representative sample of U.S. residents. The use of accelerometers allows researchers to measure total physical activity, including light intensity and unstructured activities, which may be a better predictor of health outcomes than structured activity alone. The aim of this study was to examine objectively determined physical activity levels by sex, age and racial/ethnic groups in a national sample of U.S. adults.
Data were obtained from the 2003–2004 NHANES, a cross-sectional study of a complex, multistage probability sample of the U.S. population. Physical activity was assessed with the Actigraph AM-7164 accelerometer for seven days following an examination. 2,688 U.S. adults with valid accelerometer data (i.e. at least four days with at least 10 hours of wear-time) were included in the analysis. Mean daily total physical activity counts, as well as counts accumulated in minutes of light, and moderate-vigorous intensity physical activity are presented by sex across age and racial/ethnic groups. Generalized linear modeling using the log link function was performed to compare physical activity in sex and racial/ethnic groups adjusting for age.
Physical activity decreases with age for both men and women across all racial/ethnic groups with men being more active than women, with the exception of Hispanic women. Hispanic women are more active at middle age (40–59 years) compared to younger or older age and not significantly less active than men in middle or older age groups (i.e. age 40–59 or age 60 and older). Hispanic men accumulate more total and light intensity physical activity counts than their white and black counterparts for all age groups.
Physical activity levels measured objectively by accelerometer demonstrated that Hispanic men are, in general, more active than their white and black counterparts. This appears to be in contrast to self-reported physical activity previously reported in the literature and identifies the need to use objective measures in situations where the contribution of light intensity and/or unstructured physical activity cannot be assumed homogenous across the populations of interest.
PMCID: PMC2701914  PMID: 19493347

Results 1-5 (5)