Iowa State study offers a healthy opportunity for eligible adults

Marlys Barker Nevada
Journal Editor
Pictured are members of the CardioRACE study team, students and staff. Photo Contributed

Are you between the ages of 35 and 70 years and a non-smoker?

If you are, and if you want to take advantage of a study that could make you healthier, and even earn you a little cash incentive if you stick with it all the way through, then a group, made up of four ISU professors, four expert consultants, one post-doctoral project manager, five graduate students, two full-time research staff and 30 or more undergraduate research assistants at Iowa State University, is looking for you.

Some area residents have seen the flyer about CardioRACE and shared it on their social media pages. And frankly, area residents - those within easy driving distance of Iowa State - are exactly the ones who can benefit and make positive changes in their lives by taking part.

Nathan Meier, a Ph.D. candidate in the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab, Department of Kinesiology, at Iowa State, is the recruitment coordinator for CardioRACE. He explains what the study is all about and how it started.

“Originally, a master’s student in our lab and Dr. Lee designed a pilot study to investigate the independent and additive effects of aerobic and resistance training on cardiovascular health outcomes,” Meier said. “Then Dr. Lee applied for and was awarded a five-year, $3.4 million National Institutes of Health grant to conduct a 12-month exercise intervention with 400 people, which we call CardioRACE.”

Meier said the first few waves of participants started this past month, but they plan to add 200 more participants this year and in 2018. Their grant funding runs through June of 2021.

“This study is a great opportunity for any participants because they will learn how to exercise correctly to maximally improve their health, as well as contribute to the development of effective public health strategies to prevent cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke,” Meier said.

Participants, according to the CardioRACE flyer, also receive free comprehensive medical checkups and individual diet counseling.

“There is a significant portion of our health that is fully in our control,” Meier continued. “That is why a focus on prevention of health issues is so important. Daily choices around your well-being, such as diet and exercise, stress management, sleep quality, meaningful relationships and others, are so important.

“We want to help establish and support healthy choices for our community and this study would greatly benefit the individuals who are eligible; the outcomes would help society and the world, especially when it provides evidence for developing new clinical guidelines that physicians will follow in the future,” Meier said.

This study, is in fact, a Phase III Clinical trial, which means the outcomes will be considered a very high level of evidence. It means that new clinical guidelines can be written based on its results. “We hope our study provides strong clinical data for groups like the American Heart Association,” Meier said.

For those eligible and chosen to be part of the study, Meier said they will be “randomized” into groups. “The randomization helps to equal out other variables that may influence the outcomes of the study. All participants will be given diet counseling with a registered dietitian, who is a Ph.D. student in the nutrition department.”

The exercise portion of the study, Meier explained, is managed by a sophisticated database and key card system. Individuals will have a personalized workout (either aerobic training only, resistance training only or a combination of both) programmed on their key. Participants will check in and the workout will be loaded, then each machine will read the key and store exercise data, and when they check out, all the data is downloaded to the database.

“This allows us to manage a large group of individuals each on a very personalized exercise program,” Meier said.

Men and women, who are non-smokers and are between the ages of 35 and 70, who would like to follow a personalized exercise program three times a week for one year - sessions are one hour long and can be done between 5:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. each day - are asked to apply.

“People who are interested in learning more can visit our website (, email us at or call us and leave a message at 515-294-7223,” Meier said. Those interested will undergo a screening by phone to see if they are eligible.

And best of all, for those who know how hard it can be to park at Iowa State - there is free parking if you are part of this program!