About Dr. Roberts

Active Living Researcher

  • Dr. Jennifer D. Roberts is an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland College Park, School of Public Health. She is also the Director of the Public Health Outcomes and Effects of the Built Environment (PHOEBE) Laboratory. Her research interests focus on the relationship between the built environment and physical activity in addition to its impact on obesity and other public health outcomes. More specifically, much of her research has explored the dynamic relationship between environmental, social and cultural determinants of physical activity and using empirical evidence of this relationship to infer complex health outcome patterns among adults and children.  


  • Future and ongoing research, such as her Built Environment and Active Play (BEAP) and Physical Environment and Active Transportation (PEAT) Studies have incorporated state of the art techniques, such as spatial analysis and geographic information system modeling in order to objectively capture the role and relationship of physical activity determinants. Finally, crosscutting issues including exposure (e.g. recreational deserts) and outcome (e.g. childhood obesity) health disparities have also been addressed in her research physical activity and public health programs.


  • Dr. Roberts has been awarded professional development awards from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and funding from the National Institutes of Health and Departments of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland. Her research has been featured in UMD Right Now and the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health Friday Letter. Recently, she was inducted into the Gamma Zeta Chapter of Delta Omega National Honorary Society for Public Health and in 2012 was selected as for a “Very Important Professionals Successful By 40” Award by “The Daily Record”.  


  • A native of Buffalo, New York, Dr. Roberts graduated from Buffalo Seminary High School and received her Bachelor of Arts (AB) degree from Brown University. She holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and earned her Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.  



Cover Photo by John T. Consoli  

Find Out More

University of Maryland

PHOEBE Laboratory

Speaking Engagements

  • “Sedentary Behaviors Among Washington, DC Area Children: Findings from the BEAP Study”. Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth & Families Foundation, Arlington, VA, December 18, 2017 


  • “Transit, Obesity and Public Health”. Action Committee for Transit, Silver Spring Civic Center, Silver Spring, MD, October 10, 2017.


  • “Symposium Speaker Presentation - Active Living Among Washington, DC Area Youth”. International Symposium "Active Living and Environment: Towards a Healthier and More Sustainable Future", University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, August 29, 2017.


  • “Active Transportation Behaviors and Perceptions Among Washington, DC Area Youth”. International Symposium "Active Living and Environment: Towards a Healthier and More Sustainable Future", University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, August 28, 2017.   


  • “Built Environment and Active Living Among Washington, DC Area Youth”. Active Living Laboratory Research Seminar Series, School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, August 8, 2017.


  • “Kids, Let’s Stand Up!: Findings from the Built Environment and Active Play Study”. Counseling Center’s Research and Development Series, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, October 19, 2016.


  • “Active Transportation Among Washington, DC Area Children”. National Center for Smart Growth, 2016 Brown Bay Webinar Series, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, October 3, 2016. 


  • “Sedentary Behaviors Among Washington, DC Area Children”. Fall Seminar Series, Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology. University of Maryland, College Park, MD, September 28, 2016.


  • “Where Have All the Children Gone: Findings from the Built Environment and Active Play Study”. Maryland Center for Health Equity (M-CHE) Collegium of Scholars, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, March 9, 2016.  

Media Contributions

Video Interview


Radio Interview

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Jennifer D. Roberts, DrPH, MPH