Richard Troiano, Ph.D.

Captain, United States Public Health Service
Program Director

Risk Factor Assessment Branch, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Telephone: (240) 276-6916
Fax: (240) 276-7906

  • Ph.D. – Human Nutrition, Cornell University
  • M.N.S. – Clinical Nutrition, Cornell University
Contact for questions about:
  • Physical activity assessment
  • Device-based measures of physical activity
  • Body weight assessment and monitoring
  • Physical activity policy


CAPT. Richard (Rick) Troiano is a Program Director in the Risk Factor Assessment Branch of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program in NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). Dr. Troiano promotes the validation and use of accelerometer-based devices in the assessment of physical activity in research and population surveillance. He is interested in promoting improved understanding of the information obtained from devices and self-reports and the analytic implications of different data sources. Dr. Troiano also supports federal efforts to promote health-enhancing physical activity, as evidenced by his details to the Office of the Surgeon General to support development of Step it Up! The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities and to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion to serve as Coordinator for the development of 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans as well as his recent role as co-executive secretary for the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition.

In addition, Dr. Troiano is a co-scientific contact for an NCI Funding Opportunity Announcement for Diet and Physical Activity Assessment Methodology (R01 and R21; for applications that focus on physical activity).

Prior to joining EGRP, Dr. Troiano was an Epidemiologist in the Risk Factor Monitoring and Methods Branch in the Applied Research Program (now the Health Care Delivery Research Program), DCCPS. In this capacity, he worked with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to implement the use of devices in the survey to obtain objective measures of participants' physical activity-related movement and sleep, as well as body strength.

In 1993, Dr. Troiano entered government service and the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He joined the Division of Health Examination Statistics of CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), where he helped design the body composition, physical activity, and physical fitness components of NHANES. These components include dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to measure body composition; an expanded physical activity questionnaire to capture activity from transportation, occupation, and household tasks in addition to recreation; and a submaximal treadmill test for cardiovascular fitness. While at NCHS, Dr. Troiano published pivotal papers documenting the dramatic increase in overweight among children and adolescents in the United States.

Select Publications

Rosenberger ME, Fulton JE, Buman MP, Troiano RP, Grandner MA, Buchner DM, Haskell WL. The 24-hour Activity Cycle: A New Paradigm for Physical Activity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Mar;(51)3:454-464.

Piercy KL, Troiano RP, Ballard RM, Carlson SA, Fulton JE, Galuska DA, George SM, Olson RD. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. JAMA. 2018 Nov 20;320(19):2020-2028.

Saint-Maurice PF, Troiano RP, Matthews CE, Kraus WE. Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity and All-Cause Mortality: Do Bouts Matter? J Am Heart Assoc. 2018 Mar 22;7(6):e007678.

Wolff-Hughes DL, McClain JJ, Dodd KW, Berrigan D, Troiano RP. Number of accelerometer monitoring days needed for stable group-level estimates of activity. Physiol Meas. 2016 Sep;37(9):1447-55.

Wolff-Hughes DL, Troiano RP, Boyer WR, Fitzhugh EC, McClain JJ. Use of population-referenced total activity counts percentiles to assess and classify physical activity of population groups. Prev Med. 2016 Jun;87:35-40.

Troiano RP, McClain JJ, Brychta RJ, Chen KY. Evolution of accelerometer methods for physical activity research. Br J Sports Med. 2014 July:48 (13):1019-23.

Smith AW, Cronin KA, Bowles H, Willis G, Jacobs DR Jr, Ballard-Barbash R, Troiano RP. Reproducibility of physical activity recall over fifteen years: longitudinal evidence from the CARDIA study. BMC Public Health. 2013 Feb 28;13:180.

Haskell WL, Troiano RP, Hammond JA, Phillips MJ, Strader LC, Marquez DX, Grant SF, Ramos E. Physical activity and physical fitness: standardizing assessment with the PhenX Toolkit. Am J Prev Med. 2012 May;42 (5):486-92.

Troiano RP, Pettee Gabriel KK, Welk GJ, Owen N, Sternfeld B. Reported physical activity and sedentary behavior: why do you ask? J Phys Act Health. 2012 Jan;9 Suppl 1:S68-75.

Matthews CE, Chen KY, Freedson PS, Buchowski MS, Beech BM, Pate RR, Troiano RP. Amount of time spent in sedentary behaviors in the United States, 2003-2004. Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Apr 1;167(7):875-81.

Troiano RP, Berrigan D, Dodd KW, Mâsse LC, Tilert T, McDowell M. Physical activity in the United States measured by accelerometer. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Jan;40(1):181-8.

See more listings of articles and other publications authored by Dr. Troiano in PubMed.