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1.  Randomized controlled trial of the efficacy of aerobic exercise in reducing metabolic risk in healthy older people: The Hertfordshire Physical Activity Trial 
While there are compelling observational data confirming that individuals who exercise are healthier, the efficacy of aerobic exercise interventions to reduce metabolic risk and improve insulin sensitivity in older people has not been fully elucidated. Furthermore, while low birth weight has been shown to predict adverse health outcomes later in life, its influence on the response to aerobic exercise is unknown. Our primary objective is to assess the efficacy of a fully supervised twelve week aerobic exercise intervention in reducing clustered metabolic risk in healthy older adults. A secondary objective is to determine the influence of low birth weight on the response to exercise in this group.
We aim to recruit 100 participants born between 1931–1939, from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study and randomly assign them to no intervention or to 36 fully supervised one hour sessions on a cycle ergometer, over twelve weeks. Each participant will undergo detailed anthropometric and metabolic assessment pre- and post-intervention, including muscle biopsy, magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy, objective measurement of physical activity and sub-maximal fitness testing.
Given the extensive phenotypic characterization, this study will provide valuable insights into the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of aerobic exercise as well as the efficacy, feasibility and safety of such interventions in this age group.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN60986572
PMCID: PMC2708167  PMID: 19545359
2.  Differences in physical activity and sedentary time in relation to weight in 8–9 year old children 
The health benefits of physical activity for children are well established. Although objective measures of physical activity are increasingly used there is still a lack of adequate data on physical activity in children. Sex differences in physical activity have been consistently demonstrated and lower levels of physical activity in obese than non-obese children have been shown. However, differences across the whole weight spectrum have not been examined in detail. The aim of this study was to assess associations between physical activity and sedentary time across the weight spectrum in children, and to determine whether the associations differed by sex.
Participants in the current study were 176 boys and 169 girls aged 8–9 years old taking part in a longitudinal study of associations between eating behaviours, physical activity and weight gain during childhood. Height, weight and waist circumference were measured, and physical activity data were collected using an Actigraph model GT1M worn for 5 consecutive days. Associations between sex, weight and physical activity were analysed using linear regression models.
Boys had higher total activity (mean difference = 119, p < 0.001) and more minutes of moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (mean difference = 25, p < 0.001) than girls. A higher percentage of boys (72%) than girls (30%) met current physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes MVPA per day. In boys, weight status significantly predicted total activity (p = 0.001) and MVPA (p = 0.001) but there were no significant associations in girls. There was no significant difference in time spent sedentary between boys and girls, and weight status did not predict sedentary time.
In boys, physical activity was progressively lower across the weight spectrum, but in girls physical activity was consistently low across all weight categories. Intervention is required prior to 8 years old to prevent weight-related declines in physical activity in boys and further research is required to determine at what age, if ever, weight related differences in physical activity are apparent in girls.
PMCID: PMC2636837  PMID: 19077283
3.  Socioeconomic position and risk of short-term weight gain: Prospective study of 14,619 middle-aged men and women 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:112.
The association between socioeconomic position in middle age and risk of subsequent, short-term weight gain is unknown. We therefore assessed this association in a prospective population based cohort study in Norfolk, UK.
We analysed data on 14,619 middle-aged men and women (aged between 40–75 at baseline) with repeated objective measures of weight and height at baseline (1993–1997) and follow up (1998–2000).
During follow up 5,064 people gained more than 2.5 kg. Compared with the highest social class, individuals in the lowest social class had around a 30% greater risk of gaining more than 2.5 kg (OR 1.29; 95% CI 1.11–1.51; p for trend = 0.002). This association remained statistically significant following adjustment for sex, age, baseline BMI, smoking, and follow up time (OR 1.25; CI 1.07–1.46; p for trend <0.001). We also found no material difference between unadjusted models and those including all confounders and potential mediators.
Individuals of low socioeconomic position are at greatest risk of gaining weight during middle age, which is not explained by classical correlates of socioeconomic position and risk factors for obesity.
PMCID: PMC2323377  PMID: 18400100

Results 1-3 (3)