World-renowned researcher Steven Blair to speak April 7 on biggest health problem of 21st century

World-renowned researcher Steven Blair to speak April 7 on biggest health problem of 21st century: physical inactivity

Athens, Ga. – World-renowned health researcher Steven N. Blair will discuss the public health crisis threatened by growing sedentary habits in the nation’s population. The lecture is part of the ongoing Ramsey Lecture Series at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel on Monday, April 7. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Blair, a professor of exercise science as well as a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of South Carolina, will deliver a lecture titled, “Physical Inactivity: The Biggest Health Problem of the 21st Century” at 4 p.m. in Masters Hall. The lecture will address the health risks associated with physical inactivity, the prevalence of sedentary behavior in the United States and strategies for dealing with public health problems created by lack of exercise.

Sedentary habits are highly prevalent in most countries of the world, according to Blair. In the U.S., approximately 25-35 percent of adults are inactive, meaning that they have sedentary jobs, no regular physical activity program, and are generally sedentary at home. This amounts to 40 to 50 million individuals exposed to the hazards of inactivity. Given that sedentary and unfit individuals are at approximately two-fold higher risk for many health conditions than those who are moderately active and fit, the population attributable risk of inactivity is arguably one of the highest of all the conventional risk factors, he said. In the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, moderately fit men lived six years longer than unfit men, and high fit men lived three years longer than the moderately fit men. Thus, there is a nine-year difference in average longevity between low and high fit men, which further underscores the magnitude of the public health problem of inactivity.

Blair investigates the associations between lifestyle and health with a specific emphasis on exercise, physical fitness, body composition and chronic disease. He is a Benjamin Meaker Fellow at the University of Bristol, England and is a Fellow in the American College of Epidemiology, Society for Behavioral Medicine, American College of Sports Medicine, American Heart Association, and American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education. He is a past president of the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity and the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education.

Blair holds honorary doctoral degrees from Lander University in the U.S., the Free University of Brussels in Belgium and the University of Bristol in the U.K. Additionally, he has received awards from the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association and the U.S. Public Health Service. He is one of the few individuals outside the U.S. Public Health Service to be awarded the Surgeon General’s Medallion. He has published more than 400 scholarly papers and book chapters and was the Senior Scientific Editor for the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health.

The Ramsey Lecture Series is funded by an endowment of academic programs in the Ramsey Center from Bernard B. Ramsey. Receptions will be held before and after the lecture.