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Steve Blair honored for transformative research

Margaret M. Lamb, Margaret@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-5400

Dr. Steven Blair, professor of exercise science, epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, has been selected to receive the inaugural Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health.

Blair will be honored Jan. 11 in Toronto.

Created by Toronto financier Lawrence S. Bloomberg, the Bloomberg Manulife Prize recognizes research that has the potential to broaden understanding of how physical activity, nutrition or psychosocial factors influence personal health and wellbeing.

“Thanks to Dr. Blair’s research, we have scientific proof that the key to living healthier and longer is just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day,” Bloomberg said. It’s this kind of concrete, useful knowledge that we hope to bring to Canadians through this prize.”

Blair is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading contributors to epidemiological research that links physical fitness with numerous health benefits and decreased mortality, He has been an adviser to government agencies and health organizations, published more than 500 scientific papers and book chapters, and is one of only a few people outside of the U.S. Public Health Service to receive the U.S. Surgeon General’s Medallion.

Blair attributed the honor to the outstanding work of colleagues and students. “I am truly honored to be recognized by McGill University,” Blair said. “It is a leader in exercise science research and education, and their recognition of my research with the Bloomberg Manulife Prize means a great deal to me. It is a testament to the outstanding colleagues and students I have worked with over the years.”

Bloomberg, a McGill University alumnus, chair of the board of BloombergSen Inc. and longtime chair of the board of Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, teamed up with corporate partner Manulife Financial to better educate Canadians on health and lifestyle matters. Each pledged $1 million to set up the 10-year initiative

Donald A. Guloien, president and CEO of Manulife, said, “We are convinced that the pioneering work of Dr. Blair will be an important step in creating a better quality of life for Canadians.”

Blair was among the first researchers to show that moderate increases in fitness, regardless of one’s weight, translate into signi¬ficantly reduced mortality rates. His research has shown that as little as 30 minutes of physical activity a day is enough to decrease mortality rates by 50 percent. He contends that it is the lack of physical activity – not obesity – that is today’s single biggest health issue.

You Tube video that has been viewed by thousands and is titled “23 and ½ hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?”, discusses Blair’s research findings that 30 minutes a day of physical activity will improve fitness and health.

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Posted: 01/09/12 @ 8:30 PM | Updated: 01/09/12 @ 9:06 PM | Permalink

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