Dr. Margaret (Molly) B. Conroy is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh. She is applying for a Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23) in order to become an independent clinical investigator. Her proposal focuses on the relationships between physical activity, abdominal and muscular adiposity and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women after menopause. Women are a high-risk population, as they are more likely to be physically inactive than men, a disparity that becomes more striking with advancing age. Following menopause, the incidence of CVD in women increases, while participation in regular physical activity declines. Further investigation is warranted of the pathways through which physical activity impacts CVD risk after menopause, particularly those incorporating body composition and potentially modifiable psychosocial factors. Dr. Conroy will examine these relationships and implement and evaluate a physical activity intervention in a clinical setting by pursuing three specific aims.
Aim #1 will determine whether abdominal and muscular adiposity mediate the relationship between physical activity and subclinical cardiovascular disease risk in a cohort of postmenopausal women.
Aim #2 will examine the relationships between changes in physical activity, abdominal and muscular adiposity and cardiovascular disease risk after an intensive lifestyle intervention.
Aim #3 will involve a randomized, controlled physical activity intervention for early postmenopausal women that adapts clinical trial methods and translates them to the primary care patient population and practice setting.
Aim #1 will be addressed by an ancillary study in the Women on the Move through Activity and Nutrition (WOMAN) cohort.
Aim #2 will be addressed in the Slow Adverse Vascular Effects (SAVE) study.
Aim #3 wiN be addressed by recruiting an intervention cohort from Dr. Conroy's primary care clinic. Experts in the fields of physical activity and CVD epidemiology, translational research, behavioral medicine and intervention design will supervise Dr. Conroy's career development. She will receive specific training in (1) collection, analysis and interpretation of state-of-the art outcome measures of obesity and subclinical cardiovascular disease;(2) theoretical background and hands-on skills necessary for planning and executing physical activity and lifestyle interventions;and (3) translational research, focused on strategies, collaborative models and technical support systems for implementing lifestyle interventions in clinical systems. A better understanding of the mechanisms linking physical activity, adiposity and CVD after menopause and innovative physical activity promotion strategies in this high-risk population are critical steps towards advancing cardiovascular health in women.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1-CSR-R (M1))
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Einhorn, Paula
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University of Pittsburgh
Internal Medicine/Medicine
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United States
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Lee, Jane J; Woodard, Genevieve A; Gianaros, Peter J et al. (2015) Ectopic adiposity is associated with autonomic risk factors and subclinical cardiovascular disease in young adults. Obesity (Silver Spring) 23:2030-6
Conroy, Molly B; Sward, Kathleen L; Spadaro, Kathleen C et al. (2015) Effectiveness of a physical activity and weight loss intervention for middle-aged women: healthy bodies, healthy hearts randomized trial. J Gen Intern Med 30:207-13
NapoƩ, Gnankang Sarah; Kim, Yeon Hee; Wang, Li et al. (2013) Predictors of attempted weight loss and physician advice for weight loss in a group of overweight and obese patients in Togo. Ethn Dis 23:83-6
Smith, H A; Storti, K L; Arena, V C et al. (2013) Associations between accelerometer-derived physical activity and regional adiposity in young men and women. Obesity (Silver Spring) 21:1299-305
Casas, Rachel S; Pettee Gabriel, Kelley K; Kriska, Andrea M et al. (2012) Association of leisure physical activity and sleep with cardiovascular risk factors in postmenopausal women. Menopause 19:413-9
Conroy, Molly B; Kwoh, C Kent; Krishnan, Eswar et al. (2012) Muscle strength, mass, and quality in older men and women with knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) 64:15-21
Conroy, Molly B; Yang, Kyeongra; Elci, Okan U et al. (2011) Physical activity self-monitoring and weight loss: 6-month results of the SMART trial. Med Sci Sports Exerc 43:1568-74
Soni, Amy C; Conroy, Molly B; Mackey, Rachel H et al. (2011) Ghrelin, leptin, adiponectin, and insulin levels and concurrent and future weight change in overweight, postmenopausal women. Menopause 18:296-301
Hess, Rachel; Conroy, Molly B; Ness, Roberta et al. (2009) Association of lifestyle and relationship factors with sexual functioning of women during midlife. J Sex Med 6:1358-68