International Collaboration Leads To Published Article For Limestone's Dr. Felicia Cavallini & Canadian Professor

Charles Wyatt
International Collaboration Leads To Published Article For Limestone's Dr. Felicia Cavallini & Canadian Professor

Limestone University Professor of Physical Education Dr. Felicia Cavallini and a colleague from Canada recently had a peer review publication accepted from the Journal of Family Medicine and Disease Prevention.

The journal article is entitled “Exercise Is Medicine! Why Are People Not Buying Into the Prescription?” and it was co-authored by Cavallini and Dr. David J. Dyck from the University of Guelph.

The latest entry marks the ninth research peer-reviewed published article for Cavallini and Dyck as part of their international collaborative efforts.

A Professor of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, Dyck completed his Masters and Doctoral degrees at the University of Guelph, studying the mechanisms underlying the interaction between fat and carbohydrate utilization in contracting skeletal muscle. He then began his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Waterloo. During that tenure, he learned novel techniques for studying fat transport and its metabolic fates in isolated skeletal muscle. Dyck has continued to study muscle lipid metabolism. His primary interests involve the hormonal regulation of muscle lipid metabolism and its dysfunction in the development of insulin resistance and diabetes. He currently has memberships in the Canadian and American Physiological Societies

“In addition to the wonderful research we are doing together, our partnership on this project speaks to the bigger, more important picture of the power of international collaboration for the purpose of educating, informing, motivating, inspiring, and promoting lifestyle physical activity to the global public,” Cavallini said.

“It’s extremely exciting to me as a member of the Limestone faculty to be a part of that. I look forward to Limestone being represented in even more international collaborations in the future” Cavallini said.

The research article noted that most participants in the study, despite recognizing the health benefits of traditional exercise, prefer to incorporate physical activity into everyday activities. With that in mind, it concluded that the medical community must consider what is most meaningful for their patients and the public at large instead of preaching a “one size fits all” narrative.

The purpose of the study by Cavallini and Dyck was to examine participants’ attitudes toward the gym environment and the overall relationship between participants’ associations with physical activity and exercise. It also gauged their preferences for how they wanted to be physically active. The participants included adults ages 18 years and older representing diverse groups from rural and urban communities in Guelph and Ontario, Canada, along with groups from Cherokee County in South Carolina. Focus group facilitated discussions were conducted with 234 people from Ontario and 175 people from Cherokee County.

Overall, regardless of geographical region, most people felt that there was a difference between physical activity and exercise, and that national guidelines for activity could be met through lifestyle physical activity.

Cavallini was awarded the prestigious, internationally distinguished Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant for 2014-2015 as a Visiting Research Chair in the Human Health and Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Guelph. Following her time in Guelph, Cavallini and her research team created “MyActivity” graphics to represent their findings. The graphics reflected the data gained from 13 diverse focus groups held during Cavallini’s time in Canada. Along with the research, currently 15 of the “MyActivity” graphics have been published in peer-review national and international research journals.

“I actually didn't begin to interact with Dr. Cavallini in terms of her research interests until near the end of her Fulbright tenure in Guelph, when we had the opportunity to sit down and discuss in more detail what she was doing,” Dyck said. “She indicated that what really motivated her was understanding why so many people simply do not engage in sufficient exercise or physical activity, despite being aware of the many benefits. This was the essence of her Fulbright research in Guelph, and what she has continued with to the present moment. My own research interests lie in the area of energy metabolism, and more specifically, how it is that our muscles utilize fats and sugars, what determines this under various situations – including exercise – and what goes wrong in diabetes. To me, listening to Dr. Cavallini’s interests was like a breath of fresh air. It spoke to doing something of value in the moment and helping people.

“Sometimes when your own research involves long term studies, you lose sight of that,” he continued. “I became quite interested in what she was doing, and Dr. Cavallini was gracious enough to bring me into her circle. I have assisted largely with data analyses from the surveys and helping to write manuscripts. And we have recently been quite productive, putting out five publications in about the past 4 months. But the driving force is clearly Felicia, as she has boundless energy. The overall message that Dr. Cavallini and I are hearing from the surveys, regardless of gender, age, or geographical location, is that time is a significant barrier, and many people would prefer to incorporate physical activity, in a more natural and pleasant manner, into their daily routines – as opposed to carving out time to go to the gym. It has truly been an honor and privilege for me to collaborate with Dr. Cavallini. She is tireless and enthusiastic, and the consummate professional. And a true friend."