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Vanessa Sherk, PhD

Osteogenic Responses to Exercise with Obesity

Bone strength can be enhanced by weight bearing exercise. A prevailing belief has been that obesity builds stronger bones and protects against osteoporosis. However, it is now apparent that in some cases obesity actually increases the risk for osteoporosis. The goal of this project is to find out how obesity affects the way that bones adapt to exercise. 

A second goal is to determine whether obesity and exercise affect how bone-building cells (osteoblasts) respond to insulin and glucose. The results of this study can help inform the design of exercise programs to ensure that the benefit of exercise on bones can be maximized. This would ultimately help lower the risk of bone fracture, which is a common cause of frailty in older women.