Exercise researcher receives international award
Dr. Steven Blair, a professor of exercise science, epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, has been awarded the 2010 Folksam Prize in Epidemiological Research.
Blair, an internationally recognized authority on exercise and its health benefits, will receive the award at a ceremony at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, in November. Blair’s research investigates the relationship between lifestyle and health with a specific emphasis on exercise, physical fitness, body composition and chronic disease.
“Professor Blair has made invaluable contributions to public health through his research into how exercise and physical activity lead to a longer, healthier life, and he has brought his and other scientists’ findings to the attention of decision-makers and the general public with tireless enthusiasm,” said Professor Anders Ahlbom, chairman of the award committee.
Blair’s research includes several important methodological contributions to the field, such as objective methods for quantifying physical capacity and evaluating interventions aimed at influencing lifestyles. He has also helped to draw up national guidelines for physical activity and has been the scientific editor for the U.S. Surgeon General’s report on physical activity and health.
Dr. Tom Chandler, dean of the Arnold School of Public Health, said the award underscores the international impact of Blair’s distinguished career.
“This major international award is recognition of a life’s work that has enhanced our knowledge in the fields of public health, exercise science, public policy and epidemiology,” Chandler said. “At the Arnold School, Dr. Blair is a respected teacher, mentor, researcher and friend, and we are proud to have him on our faculty. His scholarly achievements will be reflected in the ongoing work of Blair-influenced young scientists for generations.”
Blair first came to USC in 1966 as a P.E. instructor and eventually became a professor in the School of Public Health. He left Carolina in 1984 and spent the next 22 years as a researcher and then as president and CEO of the Cooper Institute in Dallas, a non-profit research and education center recognized as a leader in exercise science. He returned to USC’s Arnold School in 2006.
He is a past president of the American College of Sports Medicine.
“I feel very honored to be recognized,” Blair said. “I’ve been doing this for quite a number of years. I have one brilliant ability: To line up with smart, hardworking students, post-docs and colleagues and go along for the ride. We have great people here in the Arnold School of Public Health.”
Folksam has been helping to develop epidemiological and preventative research in the field of public health for many years. The Folksam Prize is awarded for epidemiologic research, particularly research that uses epidemiologic materials for disease prevention and public-health improvements. The 2009 winner was Laura Fratiglioni of Sweden, a leading researcher in the epidemiology of aging.