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Physical Activity and Wellness Laboratory (PAW)


The Physical Activity and Wellness Research Group is focused on understanding the role of physical activity and exercise in the prevention and management of various public health concerns and chronic diseases. The aim of this group is to increase our knowledge of the causes and determinants of physical activity in different cross-sections of the population. Further, this group aims to disentangle the pathways by which physical activity may influence multiple parameters of health and wellness.

Laboratory Director

Lab Members


Research Group Alumni

Dr. Robert Booker (2020) Post-Doctoral Fellow – Northwestern University
Katie Spring, MS (2018) Doctoral Candidate – Auburn University
Sarah Thompson, MS (2019) Fitness Professional – Professional Physique Competitor

Research Emphasis

  • Pediatric Exercise Science
  • Physical Activity and Metabolic Health
  • Physical Activity Assessment
  • Psychosocial Stress and Physical Activity

Past and Current Research Support

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention AIM for CHangE
  • International Tennis Federation

Facilities and Equipment

  • Parvo Medics TrueOne Metabolic Cart
  • Cosmed K4B2 Metabolic System
  • Cosmed T150 Treadmill
  • Actigraph GTX3+ accelerometers
  • GE Lunar iDXA
  • Portable Tanita scales and Shorr Board Stadiometers
  • Cholestech Portable Analyzers
  • Dynamap and Omron Automated Blood Pressure Cuffs

Recent Research Presentations

Recent and Relevant Publications (*Student)

Spring KE,* Chen CC, Powell MB, Smith JEW, Stratton KK, Wadsworth DD, Holmes ME. Impact of Seated Movement Incorporation on Middle School Classroom Physical Activity Levels and Academic Engagement, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. August 2022 DOI: 10.1080/02701367.2022.2100308

Booker R,* Beech BM, Bruce MA, Thorpe Jr. RJ, Norris KC, Heitman E, Newton Jr. RL, Holmes ME. The Association of Sedentary Behavior and Physical Activity with Different Measurements of Metabolic Syndrome: The Jackson Heart Study. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. August 2022. doi:10.1177/15598276221118044

Halfacre K, Buys DR, & Holmes ME, King E, Roach J. Barriers to Healthy Living in the Mississippi Delta. Journal of Healthy Eating and Active Living. 2022; 2 (1), 32-44.

Booker R,* Chander H, Norris KC, Thorpe RJ, Vickers B, Holmes ME. (2022) Comparison of Leisure Time Physical Activities by Metabolic Syndrome Status among Adolescents. 2022; 19 (3), 1415

Galloway R, Booker R,* Loftin M, Holmes ME, Gdovin J. Physiological and perceptual responses during walking at set and preferred pace in normal and overweight adults. Int J Obes. 2022; 46 (1) 100-106.

Battista RA, Baete A, Holmes ME, Peyer KL. (2021). Physical Activity Recommendations for Middle School Youth.  In Elliott E, Greenberg J, Battista R, Guerrero HG. Physical Activity Recommendations for Children and Adolescents: More Important Than Ever. US Physical Activity Alliance. Washington, DC: US.  Available at

Booker R, Jones R, Galloway R, Holmes ME (2021) Differences of Sedentary Behavior, Physical Activity, and Metabolic Syndrome Severity Among Metabolic Syndrome Clusters. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. DOI: 10.1177/15598276211056874.

Chen, C-C (JJ), Kulinna PH, Spring KE, Ryuh Y, & Holmes ME. (Accepted). The evaluation of physical literacy of preservice physical educators. The Physical Educator Journal.

Spring KE, Holmes ME, Smith JW. Long term Tennis Participation and Health Outcomes: An Investigation of “Lifetime” Activities, International Journal of Exercise Science. 2021; 13 (7), Pages 1251-1261. Available at:

Chen C-C (JJ), Holmes ME, Wood KE, Ryuh Y-J, Kulinna PH. Are You Better than a 12-year-old Student? A Pilot Study to Explore Physical Literacy in Pre-Service Physical Education Teachers. The Physical Educator. 2020; 77 (1), 130-153.

Holmes ME, Kvasnicka MA, Webb HE, Brocato DK. Metabolic Health and Academic Achievement in Youth At Risk for High School Dropout in Rural Mississippi: The Role of Classroom Management. Preventive Medicine Reports. 2018; (11): 115-9.

Holmes, ME. Physical Activity, Stress, and Obesity. In Handbuch Stressregulation und Sport. Fuchs, R. & Gerber, M. (eds.) 311-323. 2017. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, Berlin, Heidelberg.


American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

Southeast American College of Sports Medicine (SEACSM)

North American Society for Pediatric Exercise Medicine (NASPEM)

Physical Activity Alliance (National Physical Activity Plan)

Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America)

American Public Health Association (APHA)

Prospective Students

For more information on undergraduate programs, visit:

For more information on graduate programs, visit:         

Contact Us


122 McCarthy Gym

Mississippi State, MS 39762

Mailing Address:

PO Box 6186

Mississippi State, MS 39762


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