As the Hilton Chair at Iowa State University, Steve Blair will deliver lectures throughout 2010 – 11

November 18, 2010


Dr. Steve Blair receives the Folksam Prize at a ceremony in
Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo courtesy of Staffan Larsson at
the Karolinska Institute)

Can a person be fit and fat? Yes, according to Dr. Steve Blair.

Blair, a professor in the Departments of Exercise Science and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, has been named the 2010-11 Dean Helen LeBaron Hilton Chair at Iowa State University’s College of Human Sciences. Blair’s selection for the Hilton Chair is one of several recent accomplishments. Earlier this month, Blair received the 2010 Folksam Prize in Epidemiological Research. The award was presented at an installation ceremony at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. The institute is considered one of the worlds leading medical universities.

As part of his appointment, Blair delivered a lecture, titled “Physical Activity or Body Weight: Which is More Important for Your Health,” at Iowa State and discussed the role of physical fitness and health maintenance through the ages.

“There is a world-wide epidemic of obesity, and obesity receives a lot of attention from clinical medicine, public health, and the lay press,” Blair said. “We have found that individuals who are fat, but physically fit, do not have elevated mortality risk. Inactivity and low fitness are far more important health problems than obesity.”

Blair is a recognized authority on exercise and its health benefits. He is coauthor of Fitness after 50, Active Living Every Day, and Physical Activity and Health and was the senior scientific editor for the first U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health. He has published more than 490 articles and chapters and is one of the most highly cited exercise scientists with more than 25,000 citations to his body of work. He has done extensive research examining the impact of diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors on mortality.

Prior to his appointment at the Arnold School, Blair was a researcher and then president and CEO of the Cooper Institute, a nonprofit research and education center recognized as a leader in exercise science.

In his role as the 2010-11 Hilton Chair, Blair will visit the Iowa State campus four times throughout the academic year. During his visits, he said he hopes to expand the nowledge and research related to physical activity and health.

“Being physically active is one of the best things you can do to maintain good health,” Blair said. “Low fitness is as important a risk factor as smoking, and people who maintain activity and fitness are much less likely to lose function and independence as they age. I look forward to opportunities to collaborate with Iowa State investigators on this line of research.”

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