James White to lecture on relationship between built environments, physical activity

BEMIDJI, Minn. (Jan. 5, 2010) — Lack of physical activity has a known relationship to premature chronic health problems such as depression, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis. Correlative research also has linked obesity and physical activity with area of residence, access to parks and trails, time watching television, land use, urban sprawl and “walkability” of local terrain.

Dr. James White, assistant professor of physical education, health and sport at Bemidji State, will be exploring this correlation between built environments and physical inactivity and obesity trends as part of Bemidji State University’s Honors Council Lecture Series on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

White’s lecture will be held in Hagg-Sauer 112 on the BSU campus, beginning at 7 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Social, behavioral and physiological factors are unable to fully explain or curtail the obesity epidemic taking place. White’s presentation will explore emerging research that provides insight into how the elimination of built barriers can promote good health. White will conclude by discussing neighborhood and community level challenges, and how modifying environments that promote sedentarism can facilitate active living by design.

White’s presentation will ask how towns and cities might be built or remodeled in ways that might help to slow or reverse obesity trends, how park and trail access impacts a population’s health, and asks whether physical activity is being systematically engineered out of the average American’s lifestyle.

White teaches a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses at Bemidji State and coordinates the community health internship and practicum programs. A 17-year veteran of the health promotion field, White spent nine years at the Department of Cardiovascular Rehabilitation at MeritCare Health Systems before joining the faculty at Bemidji State. He also serves on the executive committe and board of directors for Beltrami Wellness Edcuation for Long Life (B-WELL).

He holds a bachelor’s degree in sport studies and management from Bemidji State, a master’s in exercise physiology from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate in human development from North Dakota State University. He is a certified clinical exercise specialist and a certified strength and conditioning specialist.

2010 Spring Honors Council Lecture Series
• Jan. 19: James White, assistant professor of physical education, health and sport, “Active Living By Design: The Built Environment, Physical Inactivity and Obesity in America.”
• Feb. 2: Jeanine Gangeness, associate professor of nursing, “Coming Online in Samoa.”
• Feb. 23: Lauren Cobb, associate professor of English, and Maureen Gibbon, assistant professor of English, “What Makes Fiction Work.”
• March 3: David Lund, professor of philosophy, “Persons, Souls and Death.”
• March 18: Michael Hamann, assistant professor of biology, “Peanut Butter, Jelly and the Cytoskeleton.”
• April 15: Larry Skillin, assistant professor of history, “From Proclamation to Dialogue: The Colonial Press and the Emergence of an American Public Sphere.”

For more information about the Honors Council Lecture Series, please contact the honors program at (218) 755-3984.

Jan. 19
– 7 p.m. – Honors Council Lecture Series: Dr. James White, ass’t professor of physical education, health and sport, “Active Living By Design: The Built Environment, Physical Inactivity and Obesity in America.” Location: Hagg-Sauer 119. Admission: free. Information: (218) 755-3984.