University of South Carolina

Faculty Experts: Exercise/fitness

Is it possible to be overweight AND fit? Can too much sleep lead to premature death? Is the military in danger of having recruits that can't pass military fitness tests?

Faculty members in the top-ranked department of exercise science at the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health are studying these and other pressing fitness and health issues, including fitness for children, teens and adults; childhood obesity; nutrition; minority health; cholesterol; steroid use; and cardiac rehabilitation.

Among the researchers are three past presidents of the American College of Sports Medicine. All are nationally and internationally recognized for their research and are adept at working with print and broadcast. They are available to discuss their research and to offer insightful commentary on topics associated with their research.

To arrange interviews, contact Margaret Lamb in the University of South Carolina's Office of News and Internal Communications 803-777-5400.

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Fitness vs. Fatness
A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that seniors who have higher fitness levels live longer than their thinner but less physically fit peers. Dr. Steven Blair, one of the study's authors, is a longtime proponent of using fitness as a better measurement of health than weight. A past president of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Blair is continuing the research, called the Aerobic Center Longitudinal Study, and is also studying the health effects of swimming and the success of several weight loss intervention programs. He is on the steering committees for the "Exercise Is Medicine" campaign of the ACSM and the American Heart Association and co-authored their 2007 recommendations for physical activity for adults and older adults. He also is past president and CEO of the Cooper Institute in Dallas and was the senior scientific editor for the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health in 1999.

Steroid use and abuse, colon cancer
Dr. Jim Carson
, an associate professor, studies the effects of testosterone and estrogen on helping muscles recover from injury. steroid use and function, steroid abuse and subsequent dangers, increased steroid use by high-school athletes and young women, and the benefits of steroid use under medically supervised conditions. Carson also is studying cachexia, the general wasting of the body that occurs when cancer patients, particularly those with colorectal or lung cancer, lose body muscle and fat. Both research efforts are supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Lipids, cholesterol, cardiac rehabilitation
For better health, know your cholesterol numbers and that physical activity is important. That's the message from Dr. Larry Durstine is an expert on lipids and lipoproteins, physical activity and health, cardiac rehabilitation and exercise management for people with chronic diseases and disabilities. A past president of the American College of Sports Medicine, Durstine is the author of an editorial titled "No Physical Activity or Exercise Is Not an Option" that appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology. Durstine is recognized for his research on c-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the body and a potential indicator for cardiovascular disease. He also is the co-director of the university's Preventive Exercise Program, which helps people improve their health through physical activity.

Nutrition, fitness
Dr. Teresa Moore
, a registered nutritionist and a clinical associate professor, is an expert on diet and nutrition, sports nutrition, physical activity and wellness, weightlifting (bodybuilding and power lifting) and the martial arts. A former nationally ranked body builder, Moore can talk about the importance of strength training for women and seniors. She recently has turned her attention to the martial arts and has a second-degree black belt in Shotokan Karate.

Youth fitness, physical activity and health
Dr. Russell Pate
, a professor and a past president of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), studies physical activity and fitness in children and the health implications of physical activity. Along with Durstine, he is on the steering committees of the "Exercise Is Medicine" campaign of the ACSM and the American Heart Association and helped write the physical activity recommendations for adults and older adults released in 2007. He also was on the scientific panel that developed the 2005 report, "Dietary Guidelines for Americans," the basis for the food pyramid, and led the effort that resulted in the physical activity recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A lifelong distance runner who has placed in the Boston Marathon's Top 10, Pate is leading a national study called TRIM, funded by the Department of Defense, which is designed to improve the health and fitness of military recruits.

Sleep, exercise and circadian rhythms
The recipient of the Young Investigator Award in 2001 from the American College of Sports Medicine, Dr. Shawn Youngstedt is building an impressive research program at the Arnold School that is examining circadian rhythms, the effects of exercise on sleep, and the possible link between excessive sleeping and mortality. An assistant professor, Youngstedt also is pursuing studies on combat post-traumatic stress disorder, the effects of moderate sleep deprivation over long periods of time and exercise as a treatment for sleep apnea. His studies on the effects of travel, light and time of day on athletic performance have implications for the 2008 Summer Olympics.