Kristen M. Beavers
Assistant Professor, Department of Health and Exercise Science
Beavers studies how nutrition and exercise influence weight loss and health outcomes in older adults.
With our current health care system facing an overwhelming number of older adults living with disability, Kristen Beavers aims to keep people living independently as long as possible. She is broadly interested in understanding how nutrition and exercise relate to prevention and causes of disease and disability in older adults, and is actively working to… Read More »
With our current health care system facing an overwhelming number of older adults living with disability, Kristen Beavers aims to keep people living independently as long as possible. She is broadly interested in understanding how nutrition and exercise relate to prevention and causes of disease and disability in older adults, and is actively working to optimize weight loss strategies for this population. By training, she is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer, and has been continuously funded by the National Institutes on Aging since 2010 to understand the effects of intentional weight loss on changes in several indicators of health, including body composition, cardiometabolic fitness, and functional decline. Her current research focuses on the effects of exercise type (resistance training or aerobic training) during weight loss on bone health, as well as whether a high-protein diet can preserve muscle mass and mobility in older adults with obesity. In sum, if there’s a lifestyle-based strategy that can help older adults lose fat, while keeping muscle and bone, Beavers wants to find it.
To maintain muscle and lose fat as you age, add weights
The New York Times
November 15, 2017
Trying to stay trim as you age? Surprisingly, if you’re cutting calories to lose weight, adding weights to your weight loss regimen may be more effective than beginning a walking program, according to a new study that adds to growing evidence that weight training is important for vigorous aging.
What exercise regimen is best for healthy weight loss in seniors?
U.S. News & World Report
November 2, 2017
Seniors who want to lose weight should hit the weight room while they cut calories, a new study suggests. Older folks who performed resistance training while dieting were able to lose fat but still preserve most of their lean muscle mass, compared with those who walked for exercise, researchers report.
How to lose weight in your 70s and beyond
U.S. News & World Report
April 13, 2017
While sustained weight loss at any age is linked to a host of benefits like improved heart health, fewer orthopedic problems and even better mental health, weight loss isn’t always recommended in older age because it’s also associated with muscle and bone loss, frailty and disease. What’s more, if older adults regain the weight they lose, they’re even more likely than younger populations to pack it back on in fat, not muscle or bone.
Thigh fat slows walking speeds down for seniors
February 20, 2013
Walking slower is more than a sign of getting older — it could be a sign of increased thigh fat. Study authors found an “increase in fat throughout the thigh is predictive of mobility loss in otherwise healthy older adults,” according to a press release. Slower walking speeds have been linked to disability, nursing home admission and death, lead author Kristen Beavers told Huff/Post50 in an email interview.
Areas of Expertise
- Predictors and determinants of functional decline in older adults
- Using advanced biomedical imaging techniques to better understand age- and intervention-related changes in body composition
- Weight-loss strategies to optimize health in older adults
Wake Forest School of Medicine: Postdoctoral Research, Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine
Baylor University: Ph.D., Exercise, Nutrition and Preventive Health
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: M.P.H., Nutrition
Cornell University: B.S., Human Biology, Health and SocietyContact
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