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David R. Bassett, Jr., PhD



Professor and Department Head
Exercise Physiology
HPER 328



David Bassett’s primary research area is the measurement of physical activity and energy expenditure in humans, using objective methods. He and his colleagues study the validity and reliability of pedometers, activity monitors, and fitness trackers, with a particular focus on standardizing daily step counts. In some of these studies, direct observation of steps and a digital hand-tally device are used as the gold standard.  In others, a GoPro camera mounted to a chest harness and pointed down at the feet, has allowed the quantification of steps in the free-living environment. Bassett and his co-workers conduct research on walking in various populations. They have collected data on groups ranging from school children to sedentary, middle-aged adults to Amish farmers. They are exploring the relationships of ambulatory physical activity to body weight, blood pressure, blood lipids, and other cardiovascular risk factors.  A number of their studies have shown the benefits of walking for weight control, blood pressure, and glucose tolerance.

Bassett has co-authored papers on maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) with Edward Howley.  They published a review paper on criteria for attainment of maximal oxygen uptake, and two reviews on the determinants of maximal oxygen uptake, and the role of this variable in determining performance in distance running.  In 2000, Bassett traveled to Cambridge University to access materials stored in the Churchill Archives, and wrote a historical piece on the scientific contributions of A.V. Hill, a Nobel Prize winner who did pioneering work in exercise physiology.

Bassett has collaborated with researchers in the transportation policy and planning field to publish a study on walking, cycling, and obesity rates in fifteen countries on three continents.  They reported that Europeans walked and cycled more than North Americans and Australians, and that levels of active transportation were inversely related to obesity rates in these countries. Currently, he and his colleagues are studying relationships between physical activity and obesity using state-level data within the US.


PhD University of Wisconsin, Madison Physical Education & Dance
MS Ball State University Exercise Physiology
BS Oberlin College Biology

Bassett DR, Toth LP, LaMunion SR, and Crouter SE.  Step Counting: Measurement Considerations and Health Implications. Sports Med. 47(7), 1303-1315, 2017. doi:10.1007/s40279-016-0663-1

Monroe CM, Thompson DL, Bassett DR, Fitzhugh EC, Raynor HA.  Effect of adding online social support tools to an adult walking program: randomized controlled trial.  Health Promotion Practice. 18(1):84-92 2017. doi:10.1177/1524839915626674

Woodman JA, Crouter SE, Bassett DR, Fitzhugh EC, and Boyer WR.  Accuracy of consumer monitors for estimating energy expenditure and activity type.  Med Sci Sports Exerc 49(2):371-7, 2017. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000001090

Chomistek AK, Yuan C, Matthews CE, Troiano RP, Rood J, Barnett JB, Willett WC, Rimm EB, Bassett DR.  Physical Activity Assessment with Waist-Worn ActiGraph GT3X and Doubly Labeled Water: A Comparison Study.   Med Sci Sports Exerc 2017 Apr 18. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000001299

Langford BC, Cherry CR, Bassett DR, Fitzhugh EC, Dhakal N. Comparing physical activity of pedal-assist electric bikes with walking and conventional bicycles. Journal of Transport and Health, 2017. doi:10.1016/j.jth.2017.06.002

Butte NF, Ridley K, Watson KB, Zakeri IF, McMurray RG, Pfeiffer KA, Crouter SE, Herrmann SD, Bassett DR, Long A, Zekarias B, Trost SG, Ainsworth BE, Berrigan D, Fulton JE. Youth Compendium of Physical Activities: Activity Codes and Intensities, Med Sci Sports Exerc.  50(2):246-256, 2017.

Ainsworth BE, Watson KB, Ridley K, Pfeiffer KA, Herrmann SD, Crouter SE, McMurray RG, Butte NF, Bassett DR, Trost SG et al. Utility of the Youth Compendium of Physical Activities Res. Q. Exerc. Sport 89(3):273-281, 2018.  doi:10.1080/02701367.2018.1487754

Toth LP, Park S, Pittman WL, Sarisaltik D, Hibbing PR, Morton AL, Springer CM, Crouter SE, and Bassett DR.  Validity of activity tracker step counts during walking, running, and activities of daily living.  Translational Journal of ACSM 3(7):52-59, 2018.  doi: 10.1249/TJX.0000000000000057

Toth LP, Park S, Hibbing PR, Springer CM, Kaplan AS, Feyerabend MD, Crouter SE, Steeves JA, and Bassett DR.  Video-recorded validation of wearable step counters under free-living conditions.  Med Sci Sports Exerc.  50(6):1315-1322, 2018. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001569

Bassett DR, Fairbrother JT, Panton, L, Martin P, and Swartz A.  Undergraduate enrollments and faculty resources in Kinesiology at selected U.S. public universities: 2007-2017.  Kinesiol Rev 7:286-294, 2018.

Bassett DR, Freedson PS, John D.  Wearable activity trackers in clinical research and practice.  Kinesiol Rev 8(1):11-15, 2019

Toth LP, Park S, Pittman WL, Sarisaltik D, Hibbing PR, Morton AL, Springer CM, Crouter SE, Bassett DR.  Effects of brief intermittent walking bouts on step count accuracy of wearable devices. J Measurement of Physical Behaviour 2(1):13-21, 2019.

Manuscripts in Press
Funk MD, Salazar CL, Garcia M, Gonzalez J, Leyva P, Bassett DR, Karabulut M.
Validity of smartphone applications at measuring steps: does wear location matter? J Measurement of Physical Behaviour, In Press, 12/18/2018.

Book Chapters
Bassett DR and Bielak KM.  Physical activity measures, chapter 8 in Lifestyle Medicine: A Manual for Clinical Practice. Springer Publishing, New York. Jeffrey I. Mechanick and Robert F. Kushner (Eds). 2016.  ISBN 978-3-319-24685-7.

Bassett DR.  Exercise and Heart Disease, in Fitness Professional’s Handbook, 7th ed.  E.T. Howley and DL Thompson (Eds).  Human Kinetics.  Champaign, Illinois, 2017, pp. 363-375.  ISBN 9781492523376

Bassett DR.  Exercise and Pulmonary Disease, in Fitness Professional’s Handbook, 7th ed.  ET Howley and DL Thompson (Eds).  Human Kinetics.  Champaign, Illinois, 2017, pp. 397-406.  ISBN 9781492523376

Bassett DR. ECG and Exercise Performance, in Fitness Professional’s Handbook, 7th ed.  ET Howley and DL Thompson (Eds).  Human Kinetics.  Champaign, Illinois, 2017, pp. 429-445.  ISBN 9781492523376