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Gregory Welk

Title: Professor / Barbara E. Forker Professor in Kinesiology
Department: Kinesiology

Office: 103e Forker 534 Wallace Rd., Ames, IA 50011
Phone number: +1 515 294 3583
Email: gwelk@iastate.edu

View resume/vita

Research interests

Details on my research are available at my lab website (www.physicalactivitylab.org). The key areas of interest in our lab are summarized below

  • Use of accelerometry-based activity monitors for evaluating physical activity behavior
  • Application of consumer-based monitors and health coaching applications for behavior change
  • Physical activity interventions in school, worksite, clinical and community settings
  • Causes, consequences, and prevention of obesity
  • Youth fitness testing and evaluation with the FITNESSGRAM youth fitness program

Research Interests

My research focuses on the assessment and promotion of physical activity, physical fitness and health in the population. My work on physical activity assessment has emphasized the use of accelerometry-based physical activity monitors and novel pattern recognition devices that provide objective information about physical activity levels in the population. Recent efforts have focused on the utility of consumer based activity monitors and applications for behavior change programming.


Another major area of work focuses on applied research on the FITNESSGRAM youth fitness program. I serve as the Scientific Director of the national FITNESSGRAM program and coordinate several large school based initiatives. Our team is currently working with the Cooper Institute to evaluate the impact of NFL PLAY 60 program in a large cohort of over 1000 schools (35 in each NFL franchise city). We have also launched a participatory research network called the Iowa FITNESSGRAM Initiative (www.iowafitnessgram.org) that provides support and resources to Iowa schools.


A final area of interest is in applied community-based physical activity programming. I am particularly interested in community-based participatory research paradigms that build capacity and test programming under naturalistic conditions. We have created a community outreach group called the Community-Campus Partnership for Health (www.ccph.iastate.edu) that has worked to provide communities with access to quality community health programming. Two key programs are the VERB Summer Scorecard Program (www.iowaVERB.org) and SWITCH (www.iowaswitch.org). 


Research programming is coordinated with the assistance of graduate and undergraduate students that work with me through the Physical Activity and Health Promotion Lab in the Forker Building. Details of my research program and the students in my lab are available on my lab web page (www.physicalactivitylab@org)



Teaching Responsibilities

My teaching responsibilities in the undergraduate program have focused on the area of health promotion. I have been responsible for two major undergraduate courses in the health promotion area (HS 380: Worksite Health Promotion and HS 430: Community Health Program Planning). A unique aspect of both courses is that they involve coordinated service learning applications that allow students to apply content learned in class in real-world settings. I have created a supplemental course (KIN 391: Service Learning Leadership Experiences) for students interested in guided service learning experiences in worksite and community settings. I have also created a course (KIN 210: Concepts of Fitness and Wellness) to provide opportunities for non-majors to learn principles of healthy living. In the graduate program, I teach KIN 570 (Physical Activity Assessments for Health Related Research) to provide graduate students with opportunities to learn how to collect, process and interpret physical activity data.


Service Activities

I am actively involved in campus and community programming focused on the promotion of healthy lifestyles. Details on the primary programming outlets are summarized below:

  • ExerCYse: The ExerCYse group is focused on advancing the national Exercise is Medicine initiative (www.exerciseismedicine.org). The programming is led by a dedicated team of graduate and undergraduate students. Visit www.ExerCYse.org for details.
  • Wellness Works: The Wellness Works team is an outreach group focused on promoting physical activity and fitness in worksite wellness programs. Visit www.wellnessworks.iastate.edu for details.
  • Community Campus Partnership for Health (CCPH): The CCPH group is an outreach group serving various community health groups. Visit www.ccph.iastate.edu for details.

In addition to these roles, I am a fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology, the American College of Sports Medicine and the Society for Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) - formerly AAHPERD.


Professional Outlets

An important part of my professional work focuses on developing educational resources for fitness and wellness education. I serve as the Scientific Director of the FITNESSGRAM Youth Fitness program and help to ensure that the assessments and standards used in the program are sound and appropriate for use in the program (See www.fitnessgram.net for details on the program). I am also a co-author of a series of books on fitness and wellness (Concepts of Physical Fitness and Concepts of Fitness and Wellness published by McGraw Hill. These book are widely used in fitness and wellness instruction in higher education.