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Limestone Professor Invited to Belgium Conference to Speak About Fitness
 Felicia Cavallini web
Dr. Maria Felicia Cavallini

A proposed fitness trail in Gaffney by Limestone College Physical Education Professor Dr. Maria Felicia Cavallini is continuing to garner significant attention beyond the region; this time in Belgium.

In May, Dr. Cavallini will serve as an invited speaker at the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) in Ghent, Belgium. With its nearly 400 members representing 29 countries, ISBNPA maintains a strong international presence. The competition to be selected to speak at the organization's annual conferences is fierce with only 25% of applicants actually being chosen.

"I've held back on some of the local and national presentations this year to prepare myself for this international convention, and this one is on behavioral nutrition and physical activity, areas that are very close to my heart," explained Dr. Cavallini. "The trail project is a template for implementing trails in all mid-sized and rural towns across the globe. We feel that using these trails could improve physical activities in these towns and improve overall health and fitness. The presentation will help further promote the concept of fitness trails, as well as draw more interest in her trail project, possibly even publication of her abstract, and provide a spring-board into beginning construction of a trail in Gaffney."

The purpose of the trail in Gaffney is to improve the health of Cherokee County residents.

"According to the 2008 South Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey, there are a few disturbing health challenges in Cherokee County," said Dr. Cavallini. "Sixty percent of those surveyed were deemed overweight, 41% had high cholesterol, 29% led a sedentary lifestyle, and 83%---the highest in the state-eat less than five fruits and vegetables a day. Physical activity trails like the one to be established here have proven to enhance our everyday lifestyle through exercise. Our trail will be better than most because walkers and runners will encounter a beautiful college campus, a historical neighborhood, a forward-transitioning downtown, and an old mill neighborhood that represents an important piece of local, regional, and national history."

For over a year, Dr. Cavallini and her students diligently mapped the trail route by walking various areas of the community and utilized assessment tools that categorized streets by qualifiers including conditions and safety of the sidewalks and crosswalks, aesthetics of residential homes and businesses, and overall walkability of the street.


The trail is divided into four zones, each averaging a distance of 2.5 miles in length. The zones are connected to form a nearly 10-mile long trail. This flexibility gives walkers the choice of what type of route they want to take. In some sections, the plan is to use already existing sidewalks where appropriate.

An In-Demand Speaker and Researcher
Dr. Cavallini's acceptance as a presenter at the ISBNPA conference in Belgium comes on the heels of her speaking about incorporating human movement in academic involvement at a February conference hosted by the South Carolina Women of Higher Education in Myrtle Beach. During that conference, she spoke of behavior nutrition modification and exercise.

Last year, she spoke at the 15th annual meeting of the American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences (AABSS) in Las Vegas, NV and at the 2012 American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD) National Convention and Exposition in Boston, MA.

In January, two article authored by Dr. Cavallini were selected for publication by the Taylor & Francis Group, a leading publisher of scholarly journals, books, ebooks, and reference books.