Jennifer A. Schrack, PhD
Core Faculty, Center on Aging and Health
Center & Institute Affiliation(s):
615 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore , Maryland 21205
PhD , BSPH
MS , University of Michigan
My primary area of research is the analytical study of human energy expenditure and its complex interaction with exposures and outcomes in observational epidemiological studies. Physical activity energy expenditure is a modifiable risk factor for multiple chronic diseases. Previous research has demonstrated that higher levels of physical activity energy expenditure are associated with better health outcomes in older adults, including longer active life expectancy and increased longevity. Given the aging of the population, preservation of health and physical function in older adults is a significant public health concern.
New portable technology provides incredible opportunities to better measure energy expenditure with unprecedented level of detail. Such technologies use less biased, indefatigable silent observers, such as heart rate monitors and hip accelerometers that will ultimately transform epidemiological research and have the potential to be widely used in the implementation of prevention. In collaboration with the SMART group (http://www.smart-stats.org/) from the JHSPH department of biostatistics, I am working to develop new methodology to analyze and translate heart rate and accelerometry data into accurate and reliable measures of physical activity and energy expenditure. This work is crucial to understanding changes in energy metabolism that occur with aging and the implications for managing and treating chronic conditions including obesity and disability in older adults.