Grantees: Matthew Buman and Mark Pereira

Matthew Buman

Matthew Buman, Ph.D.

Behavioral Scientist
HBRB FEATURED GRANTEE
Organization:
  • Arizona State University

Current Title
Associate Professor
Arizona State University

Describe your scientific identity.
I am trained across a number of disciplines including exercise science, psychology, behavioral science, and epidemiology. I am passionate about improving public health through lifestyle behaviors, and I specifically focus on developing novel approaches to support adults in sitting less, moving more, and sleeping better, as I have seen how these behaviors can make a rapid impact on the quality of life of individuals across the lifespan.

What are your research interests?
I am interested in the dynamic interplay of behaviors across the 24 hours - sleep, sedentary behavior (i.e., sitting), and physical activity - and how collectively these behaviors can be leveraged to reduce chronic disease risk and promote health. The majority of my work leverages technologies (e.g., smartphones, wearable sensors) that be used to both assess and intervene on behaviors across the 24 hours.

What is the significance of your current research project?
The new 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans now carry a simple message: "move more and sit less." Our Stand & Move at Work intervention is one of only a few multi-component efforts to combat prolonged sitting in the workplace, where adults can spend 70-90% of their day seated. Our trial stands to be among the most definitive studies on the long-term efficacy of approaches to reduce sitting time in the workplace.

What motivated you to work in health behaviors research?
I have been fortunate to be mentored as a doctoral student, postdoctoral fellow, and early career scientist by some of the leaders in behavioral science, physical activity, and public health. These mentors showed me how to bring innovation to health behavior change research in a way that can truly create population health impact. I am honored and motivated to carry this tradition forward.

Describe something that had a profound influence on your program of research or scientific interests (an "ah-ha!" moment).
My 'ah-ha!' moment came in 2010 when I began to observe the dynamic interplay of sleep and physical activity behaviors. When time increases in one behavior, time in other behaviors inevitably changes, and this interrelatedness is often not accounted for in our interventions. I believe that the key to improve both sleep and physical activity may lie at their intersection (i.e., sedentary behavior), given that it accounts for such a large portion of our day; and even small, cumulative changes can make a big difference.

Selected training, awards, and honors:

  • Special consultant, US Health & Human Services 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Council (Health Promotion Subcommittee)
  • 2017 Fellow, Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (TIDIRH)
  • 2017 Attendee, Speeding Research-tested INTerventions (SPRINT) program, National Cancer Institute


My 'ah-ha!' moment came in 2010 when I began to observe the dynamic interplay of sleep and physical activity behaviors. When time increases in one behavior, time in other behaviors inevitably changes, and this interrelatedness is often not accounted for in our interventions. I believe that the key to improve both sleep and physical activity may lie at their intersection (i.e., sedentary behavior), given that it accounts for such a large portion of our day; and even small, cumulative changes can make a big difference.”
Co-Principal Investigator:
Mark Pereira

Mark Pereira, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Chronic Disease Epidemiologist
Organization:
  • University of Minnesota - School of Public Health

Current Title
Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health
University of Minnesota

Describe your scientific identity.
I am a chronic disease epidemiologist with a long-standing research focus on lifestyle, particularly diet and physical activity, in the etiology and prevention of cardiometabolic diseases, such as diabetes and CVD, as well as certain cancers.

What are your research interests?
My research interests include leveraging existing prospective observational cohort studies and designing and implementing new randomized experimental studies to further our scientific understanding of how sedentary behavior, physical activity, and dietary habits impact the health of our population. Through innovative, carefully designed studies with rigorous methods, we can learn much more about mechanistic pathways between these exposures and health outcomes (e.g. diabetes or cancer risk), as well as more efficient and effective ways to change our environment and behaviors to improve public health.

What is the significance of your current research project?
Replacing sedentary time with standing and light-intensity physical activity (LPA) is associated with improved cardiometabolic health and lower mortality risk, especially among those not sufficiently engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Guidelines regarding sedentary time have now been adopted by at least seven countries. As a consequence of increased automation and reliance on computers, workers in most developed countries spend 70-80% of their work time sedentary. Rigorous intervention studies are needed to target reductions in workplace sedentary time. Our Stand and Move at Work intervention is a 12-month multilevel workplace intervention that included the use of sit-stand workstations and workplace policy, environmental, social, and individual-level changes. We compared this intervention to a similar multilevel intervention that did not include sit-stand workstations and found a reduction in sedentary time of ~ 1 hour per workday over a full year. We also observed improvement in musculoskeletal symptoms and, among those with prediabetes or diabetes, clinical improvement in multiple chronic disease risk factors and body weight.

What motivated you to work in health behaviors research?
As a young student I was very interested in endurance sports and biology. I became captivated in college (UMass, Amherst) when I was introduced to physical activity epidemiology and public health. I realized that I could build a career studying and applying my strong personal interests to the population's health.

Describe something that had a profound influence on your program of research or scientific interests (an "ah-ha!" moment).
The results of large, definitive human trials of diet and exercise to reduce disease risk, including the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the Finish Diabetes Program, and The Diabetes Prevention Program. These and others have shown that diet and exercise are more effective than medications in the primary prevention of the most common diseases in our society. However, the remaining enormous challenge lies in figuring out how to change our culture and environment to reduce the continued inequities across our population so that everyone can have access to healthful lifestyles. This is the essence of public health

Selected training, awards, and honors:

  • NCI SPeeding Research-tested INTerventions (SPRINT) Trainee (2017)
  • Outstanding Faculty Award, University of Minnesota Council of Graduate Students (2012)


Large behavioral trials have shown that physical activity and a healthful dietary pattern are highly efficacious in preventing the most common diseases in our society; now we need environment and culture change to reduce inequities across our population.”

Selected Grants



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