Bethany Barone Gibbs
Associate Professor

Associate Professor
Department of Health and Human Development and Clinical and Translational Science

Dr. Bethany Barone Gibbs is trained in cardiovascular and physical activity epidemiology and studies the prevention and treatment of cardiometabolic disease through healthy lifestyle behaviors. Her interests include population and intervention studies of physical activity, sedentary behavior, and eating habits as they relate to hypertension, subclinical cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Her research has recently focused on sedentary behavior, a behavior distinct from moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity. These studies have evaluated measurement and methods, longitudinal associations in cohort studies, and interventions to decrease sedentary behavior in office workers, pregnant women, chronic low back pain, and older adults. She is currently the Principal Investigator of a 3-month randomized clinical trial evaluating whether a sedentary behavior intervention using health coaching, sit-stand desks, and activity prompters can decrease blood pressure and arterial stiffness (NHLBI).

She also leads the Pittsburgh site for the Pregnancy 24/7 Study, a longitudinal cohort in 500 pregnant women that will investigate the 24-hour activity cycle (sedentary behavior, physical activity, and sleep) across pregnancy and its relationship with pregnancy outcomes (NHLBI). She is a consultant on the CARDIA Ancillary Study evaluating physical activity and sedentary behavior and is Vice Chair of the American Heart Association Lifestyle Council Physical Activity Committee.

Bethany is a Pittsburgh native, growing up in the South Hills, and enjoys theater and getting outdoors with her husband and two children.

The Gibbs lab is always looking for bright, motivated students to join our team. To learn more about our research, students, and staff, please visit https://www.sit-less.pitt.edu/.

Instructional Interests

Dr. Gibbs teaches research methods courses for health and exercise sciences in the Department of Health and Human Development. She also actively advises PhD and MS students and engages all Pitt students in directed research experiences.

Recent courses have included:

  • Research in Exercise Science (undergraduate level)

  • Research and Experimental Design in Exercise Physiology (master's level)

  • Statistics in Health and Physical Activity Research (master's level)

  • Manuscript Writing in Health and Physical Activity (graduate level)

Scholarly Interests

Dr. Barone Gibbs has scholarly interests in physical activity and sedentary behavior epidemiology, sedentary behavior research methods, the physiological effects of prolonged sitting and exercise, subclinical cardiovascular disease, and behavioral lifestyle interventions to prevent cardiometabolic diseases. Populations of interest include women during and following pregnancy, occupational cohorts such as desk workers, and adults with cardiovascular risk factors.

Selected Grants

Sedentary behavior, physical activity, sleep, and cardiovascular risk in pregnancy: the Pregnancy 24/7 cohort study (R01HL153095)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institutes (9/15/20-8/31/25, total award: $3,432,188)
Role: Co-I and Pittsburgh Site PI

Effect of Reducing Sedentary Behavior on Blood Pressure (R01 HL134809)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institutes (8/15/17 – 6/30/22, total award: $3,432,188)
Role: PI

Effect of Reducing Sedentary Behavior on Sleep: an Ancillary Study to RESET BP (R01HL147610)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institutes (4/1/19-2/28/23)
Role: Co-I

Young adult and midlife transitions in physical activity and sedentary behavior with heart failure risk and progression: Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) (R01HL149796)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institutes (8/1/20 - 7/31/24)
Role: Consultant

Sedentary Behavior in Pregnancy and Cardiovascular Health: MoM Health Study (17GRNT3340016)
American Heart Association (1/1/17-6/30/19, total award: $154,000)
Role: PI

Featured Publications

  • Barone Gibbs B, Aaby DA, Siddique J, Reis J, Sternfeld B, Whitaker KM, and Gabriel KP. Bidirectional 10-y Associations of Accelerometer-measured Sedentary Behavior and Activity Categories with Weight among Middle-aged Adults. International Journal of Obesity. 2020

  • Barone Gibbs B; Paley JL; Jones MA; Whitaker KM; Connolly CP; Catov JM. Validity of Self-reported and Objectively Measured Sedentary Behavior in Pregnancy. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 20 (1), 99. 2020.

  • Barone Gibbs B, Tudorascu D, Bryce CL, Comer D, Fischer GS, Hess R, Huber KA, McTigue KM, Simkin-Silverman LR, Conroy MB. Lifestyle Habits Associated with Weight Regain after Intentional Loss in Primary Care Patients Participating in a Randomized Trial. Journal of General Internal Medicine. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-020-06056-x

  • Barone Gibbs B, Kline CE. When does sedentary behavior become sleep? A framework for classifying activity during sleep-wake transitions. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2018 Aug 22; 15:81 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-018-0712-2

  • Barone Gibbs B, Hergenroeder AL, Perdomo SJ, Kowalsky RJ, Delitto A, Jakicic JM. Reducing sedentary behavior to decrease low back pain: the Stand Back trial. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Research. 2018 May;75(5):321-327. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2017-104732. Epub 2018 Jan 12.

Awards and Honors

  • Medical Student Research Mentoring Merit Award, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2019)

  • Provost’s Women in Academic Leadership (WIN-AL) Program, University of Pittsburgh (2019)

  • University of Pittsburgh School of Education Instructional Technologist of the Month (April 2017)

  • Fellow of the American Heart Association (2016)

  • Outstanding Junior Scientist award from the Aging Institute, University of Pittsburgh (2016)

Engagement, Partnerships, and Professional Service

  • Vice Chair of American Heart Association Lifestyle Council Physical Activity Committee: Member, 2016-current; Vice-Chair 2019-2021

  • Data Safety and Monitoring Board Member: ‘Comparing Ways to Reduce Bone Fractures and Injuries among Older Adults Who Have Fallen (The WISE Study) HSRP20153604, PCORI: 2018-current

  • Steering Committee Member: Women in Medicine Program at the University of Pittsburgh: 2019-current

  • Member: CARDIA Physical Activity Working Group: 2016-current