2015: Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health

January 30, 2015Dr. Dilson Rassier, Dean of Education; Dr. Alexandra Jenkins; Dr. David Jenkins; Jill Barker; Samantha Taran

Winner of the coveted Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health for 2014, Dr. David Jenkins swept through Toronto and Montreal last week on a whirlwind lecture series that included three presentations and two media interviews over a three-day span. The series of lectures, presented by McGill University’s Faculty of Education, wound up with the flagship event, “A Conversation with Dr. Jenkins: Is It Time to Invest in Your Health?”, Wednesday January 21st at McGill.

Working alongside his wife, Dr. Alexandra Jenkins, and a team of researchers, Dr. David Jenkins is widely regarded as the inventor of the glycemic index, a popular tool that helps explain and define the ways in which carbohydrates effect blood sugar levels in our diets. In 1981, David Jenkins first proposed the concept in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and has gone on to author over 15 clinical studies on the subject. A British-born graduate of Oxford University, Dr. Jenkins is currently Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism at the University of Toronto and Director of the Risk Factor Modification Centre at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital.

Speaking to a full house at the McGill University Centre on the tour’s closing date, Dr. Jenkins –a vegan- touted the benefits of eating fresh vegetables and nuts and expounded on his other claim to fame, the Porfolio Diet, a combination of foods that can lower cholesterol and help fight heart disease. Key items include beans, whole grains such as barley and oats, leafy greens and soy.

Monday night’s event included the official ceremony in Toronto where McGill’s Dean of Education, Dilson Rassier, introduced Lawrence Bloomberg and Manulife Canada President and CEO Marianne Harrison to bestow the award, which carries a $50,000 monetary component. Tuesday afternoon Dr. Jenkins led a presentation for McGill’s Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education entitled “Lifestyles for the 21st Century”, and was interviewed by CJAD’s Aaron Rand.

Dr. Jenkins is also a longtime campaigner for sustainable eating habits, promoting what he calls a “more humane” way of eating. “I do believe that these foods are not only good for human health,” said Jenkins, “but very good for planetary health, so we want to become more humane and reduce our carbon footprint. So I think that fits with many of the current themes that are there today.”

For those who missed “A Conversation with Dr. Jenkins: Is It Time to Invest in Your Health?”, a video of the event is archived online. McGill’s Faculty of Education congratulates Dr. Jenkins on this significant award and hopes that his research continues to contribute to our understanding of how to achieve a healthy and balanced diet.

Candidates for the 2015 award are encouraged to apply. Applicants should hold an academic or clinical-academic position in North America and be conducting research that enhances personal health and well-being. For application details please visit the Manulife Prize page webpage.

Dilson Rassier (Dean of Education) with Dr. David Jenkins and his wife and co-researcher Dr. Alexandra Jenkins

A rapt audience fills McGill's University Centre Ballroom

Jill Barker (Athletics), Dr. Jenkins, Samantha Taran (2014-2015 Bloomberg Manulife Fellowship recipient)
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