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Arnold School of Public Health

Children’s health expert Michael Beets named Carolina Distinguished Professor

May 28, 2019 | Erin Bluvas,

Michael Beets, a faculty member in the Department of Exercise Science, has been named a Carolina Distinguished Professor – the first in the Arnold School of Public Health – by the Office of the Provost. One of the highest honors awarded by UofSC to any faculty member, the Carolina Distinguished Professorship is bestowed on those who demonstrate excellence in scholarship with a commitment to students. They also must show a proven interest in the growth and success of their colleagues and an overall participation in university affairs.

“The faculty at the University of South Carolina exemplify excellence daily, and Michael Beets is a leader among our world-class faculty,” outgoing Provost Joan Gabel says. “We are thrilled to recognize him as our newest Carolina Distinguished Professor and are forever grateful for his outstanding contributions to our university.” 

A leader in the field of public health interventions targeting children’s health, Beets joined the Arnold School in 2008 after completing a Ph.D. in Health Education and Behavior Change and a postdoctoral fellowship at Oregon State University. Over the ensuing decade, he has published over 170 peer-reviewed articles and been awarded more than $10 million in external funding.

Beets’ research employs a public health, community-based participatory approach with a focus on identifying real-world and scalable strategies to prevent or reverse obesity and improve children’s overall health.

He is currently working on his fifth National Institutes of Health grant as principal investigator since joining the Arnold School. With this project, Beets is comparing the physical activity, sedentary, sleep, and dietary behaviors among elementary school children during the summer vacation versus nine-month school year to better understand the weight gains and fitness losses that occur during the summer months. This study will also help identify disparities by including children from low-income versus high-income households.

Beets leads the Arnold Childhood Obesity Initiative of the Arnold Institute on Aging, which focuses on improving the health and well-being of children. He has won the Breakthrough Star (2016) and the Arnold School Faculty Research (2015) Awards. 


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