Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Off the couch

  • Print

An American professor of physical education has picked up the first $50,000 prize offered in Canada to an academic who helps change public attitudes to active living. Steven Blair, of the University of South Carolina, says something as simple as a leisurely, half-hour walk a day can cut mortality rates by half.

Mr. Blair won the Bloomberg Manulife Prize for his effort to get people off the couch. He insists the sedentary lifestyle, not burgeoning weight, is the biggest health risk.

Most people will agree that exercise is a healthy thing for everyone. Some research, however, has shown that body weight, not exercise, is more associated with diabetes, for example. Further, medical science has shown it is not so much what a person weighs that is worrisome, but where the weight is being added -- the thick layer of fat around the middle is a real health risk.

Mr. Blair believes the answer to America's (or Canada's presumably; this country's rising obesity problem does not lag far behind that in the U.S.) weight problem can be found in getting people to be active, not exhorting them to lose weight. "You can be fit and obese," he says.

That takes effort, and dedication -- two factors key to changing the North American lifestyle that seem be in short supply. Governments have been pressing people for decades to get fit -- people of a certain age will remember the superfit 60-year-old Swede -- and young adults today are the product of a school system that lionized the Terry Fox run and, in Manitoba, of mandatory physical education throughout high school. Yet, we grow bigger. Putting on the running shoes is likely to prove as tough as putting down the potato chips. It seems unlikely that lifestyles and health status will change by focusing on one part of the problem.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Gerald Flood, Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 16, 2012 A10

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Chief justices breakdown cameras in courtroom project

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.
  • A water lily in full bloom is reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think Manitoba needs stronger regulations for temporary workers?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google