Kara M. Whitaker

You are here

Kara Whitaker
Assistant Professor
Director of Graduate Studies - Health and Human Physiology
Health Promotion
Exercise Science
physical activity and sedentary behavior epidemiology, pregnancy and postpartum, cardiometabolic health, behavioral interventions, health disparities
End Degree:
MPH in Physical Activity, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 2011; PhD in Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 2015; Postdoc in Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
E116 FH
Email: Laboratory:
Physical Activity and Women’s Health Lab
Lab Website:


Courses Taught

  • HHP 3045: Physical Activity Psychology

  • HHP 4800: Research Methods and Ethics

  • HHP 5200: Physical Activity Epidemiology

  • HHP 6020: Advanced Research Methods and Ethics

  • HHP 6500: Seminar in Health Promotion

Educational/Research Interests

My research examines the social and behavioral determinants of physical activity, healthy eating, and obesity. I also study the effects of physical activity and sedentary lifestyles on cardiometabolic risk factors. Overarching themes across my research are maternal-child health and health disparities, and much of my work has been with racially diverse pregnant women. My work to date has focused on building an evidence base to inform the development of interventions that promote physical activity, healthy eating, and weight control to optimize cardiometabolic health, particularly in traditionally understudied populations. I am especially interested in working with women during pregnancy as this is a critical time period where interventions have the potential to positively impact the health of both the mother and child.


For a full list of Dr. Whitaker’s publications, go to:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/kara.whitaker.1/bibliography/public/


  • American College of Sports Medicine
  • American Heart Association
  • Society of Behavioral Medicine