It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … Superdean!

By: Allison Hydzik

Knowing that regular physical activity is crucial to good health, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Dean Donald S. Burke, M.D., and faculty and staff from the school put their research into action on a recent sunny afternoon.

And they did it dressed as caped crusaders.

Before a superhero-themed staff recognition event, the league of public health proponents did five “superhero” lunges on the school’s lawn for all of the busy Fifth Avenue traffic to witness.

It was part of a university-wide physical fitness challenge, Be Fit PITT. But the activity held extra meaning for Pitt Public Health, where researchers have discovered that long periods of inactivity can increase the risk of serious health conditions, like diabetes and heart disease. They’ve also shown that a program created at the school called Group Lifestyle Balance can be implemented in the workplace to improve health.

In the coming years, Pitt Public Health researchers plan to use a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to determine the health impact of programs aimed at helping people sit less throughout the day.