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Gary Miller

Associate Professor of Health and Exercise Science

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Expertise
  • Obesity
  • Childhood Obesity
  • Weight Loss
  • General Nutrition
  • Physical Activity
  • Bariatric Surgery
Current Research
  • The effects of exercise and dietary intervention on weight loss and weight maintenance
  • The role of leptin in obesity
  • The relationship of inflammation to diseases associated with obesity
Teaching
  • Nutrition in Health and Disease
  • Cultures and Obesity
  • Lifestyles and Diseases
  • Advanced Exercise Physiology
Selected Publications
  • “Your Clients Are What They Eat: Balancing Weight with Diet” in ACSM Health & Fitness Journal
  • “Intensive Weight Loss Program Improves Physical Function in Older Obese Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis” in Obesity
Education
  • BS, University of Kansas
  • MS, Kansas State University
  • PhD, University of California (Davis)

Recent reports indicate that the number of states with an obesity rate of 30 percent or more has tripled since 2007, and the Obama administration and public health officials are making nutrition and exercise a priority. Miller’s research considers both healthy behavioral lifestyle changes of nutrition and physical activity as well as bariatric surgery interventions in obesity and weight loss. Most of his work focuses on older adults, although he also works with children in community-based programs, such as supermarket health tours for school-aged children and intervention programs promoting healthy eating and physical activity targeting at-risk families.

In early 2008 he completed a study investigating the impact of gastric bypass weight loss surgery on body composition changes, physical function and inflammatory markers. Miller has published in the leading peer-reviewed journals in his field of study, including American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Obesity, International Journal of Obesity, Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, Journal of Gerontology, and the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Gary Miller says:

On social life and exercise…

“You can go through all the motions of a fit lifestyle — regular exercise, eating nutritionally — but if your head isn’t in the game and you lack the self-confidence to succeed, you’re destined to backslide. Numerous studies suggest that strong social ties are associated with better health and longevity, and support from friends and family will remind you that you are capable of maintaining fitness over time. If fitness becomes your lifestyle you can easily weather bumps in the road and quickly get back on track without significant consequences.”

On changes in metabolism…

“Many factors contribute to your metabolism, including heredity. You’re born with an internal speedometer that regulates the pace at which your body uses energy when you’re at rest. We’re not sure what makes people different in terms of metabolism; the genes determining that have yet to be identified, but the thing to remember is — even if your metabolic rate is governed by genetics, it can be changed. In fact, it’s in a constant state of flux, throughout the day and throughout the years.”

On exercise and small changes…

“Exercise keeps the engine running. When you walk, run or lift weights, you increase the energy demands being made on your body, which raises your metabolism for hours afterwards. It’s not a huge spike, but it makes a difference. In addition to the 30 minutes of daily exercise recommended by all health authorities, weave small changes into your day — park farther away from work so you walk more, take the stairs instead of the elevator or work outside in the garden. Such minor activity changes can increase your metabolism by as much as 20 percent.”