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February 2010

Resistance Training Preserves Fat-free Mass Without Impacting Changes in Protein Metabolism After Weight Loss in Older Women


Aging is associated with progressive body composition changes, including an increase in body weight and fat mass, contributing to the onset of obesity, and a reduction in fat-free mass, leading to sarcopenia.  Sarcopenia is the age-associated decline in skeletal muscle.  Dr. Wayne Campbell in the Department of Foods and Nutrition led a study assessing the effect of resistance training (strength exercises) on dieting-induced changes in body composition, protein metabolism, and the fractional synthesis rate of mixed muscle proteins (i.e. how fast muscle proteins are formed) in postmenopausal, overweight women.


Sixteen women, average age 68 years, completed a 16-week controlled diet study. Each woman consumed 1.0g protein/kg/day (125% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance). At the start and end of the study energy intake matched each woman’s need and during an 11-week weight loss period energy intake wasdecreased by 500 kcal/day. During the study, eight women performed resistance training 3 days/week and eight women remained sedentary.  The investigators found that resistance training did not influence the energy restriction-induced decrease in body weight and fat mass. Fat-free mass and total body water decreased in the sedentary group and were unchanged in the resistance training group. Independent of resistance training, weight loss did not significantly change how much protein was retained in the body, although the rate of muscle protein synthesis was increased.  In summary, it was found that resistance training helps older women preserve fat-free mass during diet-induced weight loss.  

For more information on the study, please contact Dr. Wayne Campbell at: campbeww@purdue.edu.

Cancer Prevention Internship Program Launched

Purdue researchers from across disciplines at Purdue have joined forces to take a pre-emptive strike against cancer by training undergraduate and graduate students in interdisciplinary approaches to cancer prevention research in the Cancer Prevention Internship Program (CPIP, http://discoverypark.itap.purdue.edu/oncological/cpip/).  The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 50% of cancer deaths could be prevented if implemented strategies could improve lifestyle and encourage participation in early screening.  In order for research discoveries to progress to recommendations and the implementation of those recommendations into our lives, it is important for researchers to understand a broad range of approaches in research.  It is also important to entice the best and brightest young scientists to the field of cancer prevention research to make as much progress as possible.  The team is lead by Dr. Dorothy Teegarden from the Department of Foods and Nutrition in collaboration with the Purdue Oncological Sciences Center and the Discovery Learning Research Center. It has received funding from the National Institute of Health to develop and test an interdisciplinary curriculum for undergraduates and graduate students that will create a new pool of scientists who will effectively address research problems in cancer prevention. 


Typically, students involved in research learn about specific areas of study, and have little exposure to other disciplines or to understanding the burden of cancer for patients or their care givers.  The CPIP program financially supports undergraduates for a full-time research experience over the summer, part-time through the academic year, and graduate students for a full year.  Over the academic year, students are involved in a course taught by faculty from a variety of disciplines to introduce them to the promises and challenges of cancer prevention research.  They also gain exposure to cancer survivors, oncologists and participate in community service activities related to cancer.  Faculty members feel that these efforts will engage the CPIP students, teach them to work in interdisciplinary teams and hopefully give them the passion to continue to work in cancer prevention related fields.  Students also give research presentations, and are involved in a community with the faculty members that includes research discussions and social events.   An example of the efforts of this interdisciplinary team is the Breast Cancer Prevention 2020 website/conversation that was developed by the Cancer Prevention and Control Program of the Oncological Sciences Center, lead by Dr. Jakob Jensen (communication) and Dr. Teegarden in a collaborative effort with the CPIP (http://www.purdue.edu/hicc/bcp2020.html). 

Currently, in the first year there are 10 undergraduates and 5 graduate students in the program.  Current students are working across a breadth of research, including communication, engineering and basic science.  The CPIP has received rave reviews from the student participants and faculty team in this first year, and are looking forward to the next group of students who will enter for the 2010-2011 year! For more information on the CPIP program, contact Dr. Dorothy Teegarden at: dteegard@purdue.edu.

Raising Healthy Eaters


Raising Healthy Eaters is a series of classes led by local, trained Purdue Extension staff. The program is for parents and providers of 2-5 year olds who want happy, healthy children and enjoyable mealtimes. Classes include activities, food preparation, and discussions that focus on nutrition, eating behaviors and parenting.  The curriculum uses facilitated dialogue, taking a learner-centered approach. Participants identify topics of importance to their family and discuss how to apply them to their everyday life. Participants typically meet for 60-90 minutes once a week for 5-8weeks.  By using a learner centered approach to teach nutrition concepts, this curriculum engages participants to learn and change their behavior in a fun and safe environment. 

Topics include:

Helping children and themselves to develop healthy eating habits

Introducing new foods to children

Dealing with choosy eaters

Managing challenging mealtime situations

Preparing quick and easy meals.

Raising Healthy Eaters has been pilot-tested and evaluated by University of Wisconsin Extension. It is effective at changing participants’ knowledge, confidence and behavior.  

Participants were more likely to do the following behaviors after completing Raising Healthy Eaters: offering fruits or vegetables for meals or snacks; turning off the TV during meals;

deciding what is available for their child to eat for meals and snacks; getting their child to try new foods without using dessert as a bribe; and, rewarding good behavior without using sweets


Participants indicated feeling more confident that they could get their child to try vegetables, drink water instead of pop, and taste new foods.Participants especially enjoyed the food preparation and tasting. They indicated that their most significant change was trying new foods with their children.

For more information, contact Donna Vandergraff, vandergraff@purdue.edu  or Dee Love, loved@purdue.edu  . To find out if a class is being held in your area, contact your local county extension office http://www.ag.purdue.edu/extension/Pages/Counties.aspx


Foods & Nutrition Department
Stone Hall, Room 213
700 West State Street
West Lafayette, IN

Phone: (765) 494-8228
Fax: (765) 494-0674

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