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James Norman Roemmich

Center Director

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James N. Roemmich, Ph.D.


Contact information

(701) 795-8272


Dr. Roemmich is a native of Jamestown N.D. and earned his B.A. degree in Biology from Jamestown College in 1986. Dr. Roemmich completed a M.S. degree (Exercise Physiology, Biology) in 1988 at Ball State University and a Ph.D. degree (Exercise Physiology) in 1994 at Kent State University. That year he was accepted into a 3-year post-doctoral research fellowship (Pediatric Endocrinology, Exercise Physiology) at the University of Virginia. From 1997-2000, he was a Research Associate and Assistant Professor of Research in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Virginia. In 2000, Dr. Roemmich joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2006. In 2011, he joined the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in the role of Research Leader. He was promoted to Center Director in 2016. Throughout his career he has investigated behavior change to promote increased physical activity and healthy eating choices and the interactions of physical activity and nutrition to improve the physiologic and psychologic health of youth and adults.

Research Interests

Dr. Roemmich's programs of research focus on maintenance of a healthy body weight, including basic laboratory and clinical trials of mechanisms to promote adherence to guidelines for healthy diets and physical activity and community studies of the influence of environmental factors on physical activity. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters.

Research Accomplishments

  • First to demonstrate a genetic component to exercise reinforcement in humans.
  • First to demonstrate that those adults who meet guidelines for engaging in moderate to vigorous physical activity and resistance training behavior find exercise more reinforcing.
  • First to demonstrate that the moderate to vigorous physical activity and resistance training behavior of adults is more dependent on the reinforcing value than the liking of these behaviors.
  • Demonstrated that youth physical activity and adiposity depends on access to parks and open spaces.
  • Discovered that a brief bout of exercise dampens psychological and cardiovascular stress reactivity to be cardio-protective in children.
  • Discovered that the cardiovascular reactivity to stress is associated with the antecedents of cardiovascular disease early in life.
  • First to demonstrate that children are less willing to be physically active, more willing to watch television, and expend less energy after incurring psychological stress.
  • Discovered that psychological stress shifts children's food choices toward more energy dense comfort foods and that obese children are more likely to make this shift in food choice.
  • First to demonstrate psychological stress increased children's snacking behavior, especially those children with greater dietary restraint
  • Discovered that behavioral engineering can be used to reduce children's TV watching, increase their physical activity, and improve their body composition.
  • First to show that fidgeting and other non-exercise, sleep and daytime activities protect children against excess weight gain.


Curriculum Vitae (PDF)



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