The Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
College of Applied Health Sciences
Director of Master of Public Health Program, Kinesiology and Community Health
David Buchner is a geriatrician who studies physical activity in adults, particularly older adults. His past research focused on the role of physical activity in preventing loss of age-related function in older adults. This research included the role of exercise programs in reducing risk of fall injuries in older adults. He participated in research on the effects of physical activity in older adults with cognitive impairment, and was co-developer of an evidence-based exercise program in older adults currently named EnhanceFitness.
Between 1999 and 2008, Dr. Buchner was Chief of the Physical Activity and Health Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During this time his research interests broadened to include promotion of physical activity in adults. He participated in several research studies related to determinants of physical activity behavior in adults. This research included environmental determinants of physical activity behavior, the role of financial incentives in promoting walking in older adults, and the cost-effectiveness of community-level interventions to promote physical activity. He also supervised systematic reviews of the health effects of physical activity in all age groups. These reviews provided the evidence base for the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, for which Dr. Buchner was chair of the writing group.
Upon arriving at the University of Illinois in 2008, Prof Buchner became interested in the amounts and types of physical activity that provide health benefits to women over the age of 80. He is working on a large proposed study to measure physical activity with accelerometers in this age group. He is also working on a proposed study of how physical activity affects allostatic load in middle-aged and older Mexican-Americans.
In general, Dr. Buchner sees his work as contributing to keeping older adults healthy, and reducing the high burden of chronic disease experience by older adults. He is interested in both how physical activity provides health benefits, and in the role of policy and environmental interventions in promoting physical activity.