UMass Researchers Receive $21M Grant for Work to Measure Physical Activity

AMHERST — A team of scientists headed by Patty Friedman, chair of the department of Kinesiology at UMass Amherst, has been awarded a four-year, $21 million grant to develop a small device that will be used to obtain long-term measures of free-living physical activity.

The research is funded by the National Institutes of Health’s Genes Environment and Health Initiative that will be examining genes, environmental exposures, and behavior choices and how they affect health.

The team of UMass researchers is working with a private firm, Response Applications LLC, of Hanover, N.H., and a researcher at the University of Tennessee, to develop the new instrument.

The proposed new device will include an accelerometer, which is commonly used to measure body motion, a ventilation sensor that captures the characteristics of breathing, and a sensor to determine if physical activity takes place indoors or outdoors. At the end of the four-year term of the grant, the team expects to have an instrument that is ready for use in the field.