The Central Valley is home to some of the highest childhood obesity rates in the state of California, which is why Dr. Bhupinder Singh, an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, is focusing his research on the cause.
“One in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, which can lead to a lifetime of obesity-related problems,” Singh said. “Childhood obesity is now the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking.”
Singh specializes in the study of gait and biomechanics with a special focus on obesity and its impact on physical activity in children, as well as researching what fitness measures can be applied to prevent childhood obesity.
This past July, Singh had the unique opportunity to present his research at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy Conference (WCPT) Congress 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. The goal of the conference is to support the highest standards of physical therapy research, education and practice. Physical therapists and professors from around the world attend the annual conference in order to exchange information and share expertise.
Singh was just one of the approximately 2,500 participants, which also included 112 national physical therapy associations, to attend the conference and one of the few selected to present his research.
“My presentation was selected for a special report podium presentation in the pediatrics section, and it generated a lot of good discussion among the attendees,” Singh said. “I also had a chance to see how different countries are upgrading their physical therapy curriculum, and how their approaches to physical therapy are developing and changing.”
Back at Fresno State, Singh oversees the Gait Analysis Movement Evaluation (GAME) lab, designed to research how human bodies work on the biomechanical level. The ongoing research conducted in the GAME lab is what lead Singh to Cape Town, where he presented his research on the effects of obesity on joints in children, and how fitness can play a crucial role in preventing obesity related problems in children.
“We want to understand the relationships between obesity, fitness, and discomfort, because it helps practitioners and parents to intervene with kids to make safe, healthy, sustainable choices in their lives,” Singh said.
Singh regularly collaborates with Doctoral students in the Physical Therapy program to conduct projects related to work in the GAME lab as it relates to childhood obesity. He is also working in partnership with Valley Children’s Healthcare on an initiative that addresses obesity, with interventions aimed at working on the physical activity needs of children and their families.
Singh looks forward to applying the new knowledge he acquired in Cape Town to his classroom in the upcoming semester and further advance his work in the GAME lab towards fighting childhood obesity.
To learn more about GAME lab or research related to childhood obesity, contact Dr. Bhupinder Singh at email@example.com or 559.278.2625.
-Written by Rebeca Flores, CHHS communication student assistant