Associate Professor of Exercise Science, Graduate Program Director, Physical Activity and Wellness Science, Director of Physical Activity and Wellness Laboratory

Dr. Connie Tompkins’ research focuses on the prevention and treatment of obesity in young children and adolescents through the modification of weight-related behaviors. She has extensive experience studying changes in body composition, physiological responses to exercise prior to- and following weight loss, and the metabolic effects of obesity in children and adolescents. Since joining UVM, she has led several school-based, physical activity interventions as well as REWARD TEENS, a multi-disciplinary, adolescent weight management program.

Dr. Tompkins’ current research focuses on perceptual and physiological variables, including cognitive control, food addiction, and negative affect- factors that may impede engagement in healthy behaviors and contribute to obesity and other cardio-metabolic diseases. She also serves as a co-Investigator, alongside researchers from education and psychology, leading the assessment of physical activity on a project funded by the Vermont Children’s Health Improvement Program (VCHIP). This interdisciplinary project involves implementing- and evaluating the impact of a physical activity program in preschool classrooms to improve outcomes for children from underserved communities.

Dr. Tompkins teaches courses in the Exercise Science undergraduate program and Physical Activity and Wellness Science (PAWS) graduate program.

Dr. Tompkins is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, an ACSM Credentialed Evidence Analyst, and serves on two national Exercise is Medicine® committees.

Research and/or Creative Works

Current projects include:

  • Promoting Physical Activity to Improve Outcomes for Vermont’s At-Risk Children


Selected Publications

Laurent J, Martin AR, Tompkins, CL. Persistent and Unsuccessful Attempts to Cut Down on Ultra-Processed Foods and the Associated Challenges for Dietary Adherence. Current Addiction Reports, 2022.

Peterson NE, Zera JN, Tompkins CL, Rothermel MA, Davidson C, Mandla S, Jeffreys-Heil R, Shirazi Z, Stuhr RM, Winters CS. Exercise is Medicine on Campus: A Scoping Review of Evidence 2009 to 2021 and Call to Action, Current Sports Medicine Reports, 2022, 21(8).

Bai Y, Tompkins C, Gell N, Dione D, Zhang T, Byun W. Comprehensive comparison of Apple Watch and Fitbit monitors in a free-living setting. PLoS One, 2021, 16(5).

Tompkins CL, Shoulberg EK, Meyer LE, Martin CP, Dennis M, Krasner A, Cook H, Hoza B. Variations in Preschoolers’ Physical Activity across the School Year. Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, 2021, 6(3).

Hoza B, Shoulberg EK, Tompkins CL, Meyer LE, Martin C, Krasner A, Dennis M, Cook H.  Preschool Physical Activity Guideline Compliance and School Readiness: A Program Evaluation. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, accepted for publication.

Laurent J, Tompkins CL, Cioffredi LA, Wollenburg E, Fontaine E. Are We Underestimating Overweight and Obesity Prevalence in Children? Public Health Nursing, 2020, 37:655-662.

Hoza B, Shoulberg EK, Tompkins CL, Martin C, Krasner A, Dennis M, Meyer LE, Cook H.  Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity and Processing Speed: Predicting Improvement in ADHD Symptoms in Preschoolers. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, accepted for publication.

Meyer LE, Hoza B, Martin C, Shoulberg EK, Tompkins CL, Dennis M, Krasner A. CATs to Kiddie CATs: Transforming an elementary physical activity curriculum for preschoolers. American Journal of Health Education, 2020, 51:4: 203-214.

Tompkins CL, Shoulberg EK, Meyer LE, Martin CP, Dennis M, Krasner BS, Hoza B. Distinct Methods for Assessing Compliance with a Physical Activity Guideline for Children in Preschools. Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 2019, Oct 16(10): 902-907.

Tompkins CL, Laurent JL, Brock DW. Food Addiction: A Barrier for Effective Weight Management for Obese Adolescents. Childhood Obesity, 2017, Dec 13(6) 432-469.

Commentary Response: Tompkins CL, Laurent JL, Brock DW. Food Addiction: Not All Individuals Attempting to Lose Weight Are Addicts nor Are All Athletes Either. Childhood Obesity, 2018, Jun 14(4):237.

Lahiri T, Hempstead SE, Brady C, Cannon CL, Clark K, Condren ME, Guill MF, Guillerman RP, Leone CG, Maguiness K, Monchil L, Powers SW, Rosenfeld M, Schwarzenberg SJ, Tompkins CL, Zemanick ET, Davis SD. Clinical practice guidelines for preschoolers with cystic fibrosis, Pediatrics, 2016, 137(4).

Anti E, Laurent JS, Tompkins CL. The healthcare provider's experience with fathers of overweight and obese children: a qualitative analysis. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 2016, Mar-Apr;30(2):99-107.

Brock DW, Kokinda N, Tompkins CL. Primary care referral for exercise evaluation and prescription in obese populations: an empirical case for exercise physiologists.  Advances in Obesity, Weight Control, and Management, 2015, 2(1).

Tompkins CL, Flanagan T, Lavoie J, Brock DW. Heart rate and perceived exertion in healthy weight and obese children during a self-selected, physical activity program. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2015, Jul; 12(7):976-81.

Tompkins CL, Seablom M, Brock DW. Parental Perception of Child’s Body Weight: A Systematic Review. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 2015, 24(5):1384-1391.

Kien CL, Bunn JY, Tompkins CL, Dumas JA, Crain KI, Ebenstein DB, Koves TR, Muoio DM. Substituting dietary monounsaturated fat for saturated fat is associated with increased daily physical activity and resting energy expenditure and with changes in mood. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2013, 97:689-697. PMCID: PMC3607650

Tompkins CL, Hopkins J, Goddard L, and Brock DW.  The effect of an unstructured, moderate to vigorous, before-school physical activity program in elementary school children on academics, behavior, and health. BMC Public Health, 2012; 12. PMCID: PMC3390275

Brock DW, Tompkins CL, Gower BA, and Hunter GR.  The influence of resting energy expenditure on blood pressure in formerly overweight women.  Metabolism—Clinical and Experimental, 2012; 61: 237-241. PMCID: PMC3213288

Desai PS, Brock DW, Wilder H, Tompkins CL. Child vs Parent Perception of HRQOL in Healthy Weight and Obese Children. Proceedings of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, 2012, 584-588.

Brock DW, Tompkins CL, Gower BA, and Hunter GR. Influence of resting energy expenditure on blood pressure is independent of body mass and a marker of sympathetic tone. Metabolism 2012, Feb;61(2):237-41.

Tompkins, CL., Moran, K., Preedom, S., Brock, DW. Physical Activity-Induced Improvements in Markers of Insulin Resistance in Overweight and Obese Children and Adolescents. Current Diabetes Reviews, 2011, 7(3): 164-170.

Brock DW, Tompkins CL, and Maynard A. Treating obesity, physical inactivity, and chronic disease. NATA, 2011; 6: 22-23.

Tompkins, C., Cefalu, W., Ravussin, E., Goran, M., Soros, A., Volaufova, J., Vargas, A., Sothern, MS. Frequently Sampled Intravenous Glucose Tolerance Testing Prior to Puberty: Challenging, Yet Feasible. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 2010, 5(1):51-55.

Larson-Meyer, DE., Newcomer, BR., VanVrancken-Tompkins, CL., Sothern, MS. Feasibility of Assessing Liver Lipid by Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in Healthy Normal and Overweight Prepubertal Children. Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, 2010 12(3): 207-212.

Loftin, M., Sothern, M., Tuuri, G., Tompkins, C., Koss, C., Bonis, M. Gender Comparison of Physiologic and Perceptual Responses in Recreational Marathon Runners. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2009, 4(3):307-316.

Tompkins, C., Soros, A., Sothern, M., Vargas, A. Effects of physical activity on diabetes management and lowering risk for type 2 diabetes. American Journal of Health Education, Sept-Oct 2009.

VanVrancken-Tompkins CL, Sothern MS. Preventing obesity in children birth to five years. In: Tremblay, RE, Barr RG, Peters RDeV, eds. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development [online]. Montreal, Quebec: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development; 2006:1-7. Available at:

VanVrancken-Tompkins, C., Sothern, M., Bar-Or, O. Strengths and Weaknesses in the Response of the Obese Child to Exercise in Handbook of Pediatric Obesity: Clinical Management, Ed. Sothern, M., von Almen, TK, Gordon, S., 2006, Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL.

Sothern, M., VanVrancken-Tompkins, C., Carlisle, L. Pediatric Obesity Dietary Approaches: A Survey of the Options in Handbook of Pediatric Obesity: Clinical Management, Ed. Sothern, M., von Almen, TK, Gordon, S., 2006, Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL.

Schumacher, H., VanVrancken-Tompkins, C., Sothern, M. Nutrition Education in Handbook of Pediatric Obesity: Clinical Management, Ed. Sothern, M., von Almen, TK, Gordon, S., 2006, Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL.

Sothern, M., VanVrancken-Tompkins, C., Brooks, C., Thelin, C. Increasing Physical Activity in Overweight Youth in Clinical Settings in Handbook of Pediatric Obesity: Clinical Management, Ed. Sothern, M., von Almen, TK, Gordon, S., 2006, Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL.

Connie Tompkins

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Prevention and treatment of childhood and adolescent obesity


  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Endocrinology, Tulane University School of Medicine
  • Ph.D., Exercise Physiology and Curriculum & Instruction, University of New Orleans


  • 802-656-3817
Office Location:

310D Rowell Building

Courses Taught

  • EXSC 264 - Certified Exercise Physiologist
  • EXSC 360 - Physical Activity, Weight Management, and Energy Balance
  • EXSC 368 - Physical Activity Program Design and Management