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  Top experts in sport, health and fitness join prestigious speakers at the Discovery Vitality Summit

Press release -

Top experts in sport, health and fitness join prestigious speakers at the Discovery Vitality Summit

The Discovery Vitality Summit is taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 15 – 17 August 2013.

The Summit, which builds on the success of the annual Discovery Vitality Wellness and Fitness Convention, is a partnership between Discovery Vitality and the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA).

This year’s prestigious event will feature experts and role-players in the health, fitness and sports industry who will be sharing their knowledge, expertise, best practices and leadership lessons with the broader community. Over 1 500 delegates are expected to attend the Summit.

The Summit will include these speakers; Dr Brian Wansink, John Dyson Professor of Consumer Behavior at Cornell University; Tyler Hamilton, former professional cyclist and best-selling author; Adrian Gore, CEO of Discovery; Prof Tim Noakes, co-founder of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa; and Dr Derek Yach, Senior Vice President of The Vitality Group and Executive Director of the Vitality Institute and Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of psychology and behavioural economics at Duke University.

In addition the Summit will feature other leading thinkers and researchers such as ; Dr Terry Huang, Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Promotion at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health; Tim Plewman, a comedian, actor, author, director, producer and voice-over artist; Stuart Baxter, Kaizer Chiefs Football Club coach and former Bafana Bafana Head Coach; Howard Bolnick, a US consulting actuary specialising in health insurance and health promotion and prevention programmes; Prof Fiona Bull, Director of the Centre for Built Environment and Health, School of Population Health at the University of Western Australia; Gary Kirsten, well known South African international cricketer; Dr Ross Tucker, Consultant Scientist at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and Chris Trimmer Executive Director at International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO).

“We are excited about this year’s Discovery Vitality Summit as it will bring together a plethora of top international thinkers to engage on the science and art of health promotion and prevention of disease,” says Dr Craig Nossel, Head of Vitality Wellness.

Dan Ariely will be giving a talk titled Forget the large picture and focus on the small details. His talk will focus on how important it is to understand why while doing what is good for us, such as eating healthily may not be fun right now, but will be good for us later on down the line. Ariely’s talk will help people understand how to make the right decisions that will benefit them in the future.

“This dialogue is particularly important in today’s society as we are facing major health issues that impact on the growth and sustainability of our economy and our society,” says Nossel. “These issues include addressing chronic diseases of lifestyle, which threaten our life expectancy and quality of life. We welcome all international and local speakers who will add immense value to the Summit through their presentations and forward the thinking on creating a healthier nation.”

Morné Du Plessis, Managing Director at SISSA says: “ The Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) is proud to partner with Discovery Vitality in bringing together some of the world’s most influential thought leaders and opinion makers in the field of fitness, wellness and excellence in sport. This summit will benefit all those with an interest in their own health and fitness, and sporting achievement as well as that of our nation. We at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa strive to promote sporting performance and health of all South Africans, through the execution, dissemination and application of science”.

Summit details

Date: 15 August 2013 – Headline speakers and debates

 16 August 2013 – Themed tracks for health professionals

 17 August 2013 – Group exercise day for all audience members


Three-day pass (15-17 August): R1 500 per ticket including the expo

One-day pass to Group Activities on 17 August only: R 700 per ticket

For more information, visit


Note to editors:

Profiles of additional speakers speaking at the Discovery Vitality Summit

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight. He is interested in why people behave in the way they do, and how behavioral economics can help people improve their lives for the better. Ariely has published numerous papers on psychology and behavioral economics, and is a member of the following professional bodies: Department of Economics at the University of Zurich Advisory Board, Association for Consumer Research, Association for Consumer Psychology, American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, Judgment and Decision Making Society. At the Summit, Ariely will be talking about how doing what is good for us now, such as dieting, may not be fun, but will pay dividends in the future. He will look at how understanding our own behaviour can help us to do what is good for us through his talk, Forget the large picture and focus on the small details.

Dr Terry Huang is the Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Promotion at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health and Co-Founder and Senior Advisor of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) which coordinates activities across the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He is a global leader on creative solutions for obesity and chronic disease, systems-orientated prevention strategies targeting both the supply of and demand for health, cross-sectoral partnerships and the translation of science to policy. He serves as a consultant for the Institute of Medicine, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, and the EPODE International Network. During his career he has received numerous accolades, including the National Cancer Institute Award of Merit in 2012, and was named the UNMC Distinguished Scientist in 2013. An alumnus of the American Swiss Foundation Young Leaders Programme, he has held the position of Director of the Obesity Research Strategic Fore at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. His talk at the Summit will centre around A systems approach to childhood obesity.

Tim Plewman is one of South Africa’s well-known entertainers. A comedian, actor, dancer, writer, producer and voice-over artist, Plewman is also a fitness fanatic who uses his work to highlight the importance and benefits of being fit and healthy. He is best known for his long running one-man show, Defending the Caveman, which won him the Vita Award for Best Comedy Actor in 1998. While he may no longer be the star of his popular one-man show, having handed the baton to another actor, he is using his art to highlight fitness in his book, Fitness for Old Farts, which is the topic of his talk at the Summit. His book chronicles his journey to fitness and is targeted at men everywhere, especially in the 50+ age range, to encourage them to get fit and healthy again.

Stuart Baxter is best known for his role as the former Head Coach for South Africa’s national football team, Bafana Bafana. He is the current manager of Kazier Chiefs Football Club, one of the country’s well-known football clubs. An accomplished football player whose professional football career includes playing as a midfielder for football clubs in Scotland (), Sweeden (Helsingborgs IF and Örebro SK), United Kingdom (Stockport County FC, Dundee United FC and Morecambe FC), Australia (South Melbourne FC) and the United States (San Diego Gauchos FC); he has since used his professional experience on the coaching field, where he has served as a coach for several football teams across the world. His career as a football coach and manager has included tenures at football clubs in Norway, Sweden, Japan, United Kingdom, and South Africa. At the Summit, he will be speaking about Leadership Lessons through Sport.

Howard Bolnick is a US consulting actuary specializing in health insurance and health promotion and prevention programs.  He has more than 40 years experience, both in the USA and internationally.  Bolnick has been President of a US health insurance company, Adjunct Professor of Finance at the prestigious Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and, he has served the actuarial profession as President of the Society of Actuaries and Chairman of the International Actuarial Association Health Section.  He currently serves as Chairman of the Discovery Holdings Health Actuarial Committee, which reviews actuarial work done by Discovery Health for the Discovery Health Medical Scheme. At the Summit, his talk will focus on Medical Care Savings from Workplace Wellness Programmes – What is a Realistic Savings Potential?  

Prof Fiona Bull

Prof Fiona Bull is the Director of the Centre for Built Environment and Health, School of Population Health at the University of Western Australia. She has a background in public health, exercise science, physical activity and education. She is deeply interested in how the built environment impacts on health and policy, and how the built environment plays a role in increasing physical activity levels and preventing chronic diseases. She has worked at the Centre for Diseases Council in the United States, at the World Health Organization in Geneva, and at Loughborough University as the Director of the National Centre for Physical Activity. Prof Bull has presented and published a number of papers and led the development of the Toronto Charter on Physical Activity: A Global Call for Action in 2010, and the Seven Investments that work for physical activity in 2011. She is currently the Chair of Global Advocacy for Physical Activity Council and President Elect of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health. At the Summit, her talk on Getting the World Moving: Global targets needs local action will touch on the importance of physical activity.

Gary Kirsten

Best known as the South African cricketer who achieved a record 275 runs against England in an innings that last over 14 hours and 30 minutes, Gary Kirsten is known for his exceptional cricketing and leadership skills. He has played in 101 Tests and 185 One Day Internationals and coached the Indian cricketing team to victory in the 2011 World Cup Series. Kirsten has proved his mettle firstly as a cricketer, and as a coach and mentor to some of the greatest players in the history of cricket. He became the head coach for the Proteas, the South African national cricket team, and played a hand in guiding them to become the number 1 test team in the world. This month sees him stepping down as the Proteas’ coach. At the Summit, he will be speaking about Leadership Philosophies.

Dr Ross Tucker is a consultant scientist at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and a honorary lecturer at UCT/MRC Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. Dr Tucker is interested human performance in extreme environments, the application of science to human performance and in running. He is the scientific editor of South Africa’s Runners World, Shape and Discovery magazines; and the author of “The Runner’s Body”, a best-selling book on running physiology in the US. He is also the brain behind “The Science of Sport” TV inserts on SuperSport Blitz in South Africa. At the Summit, he will be speaking about how Everyone is an expert – How the internet has changed truth and knowledge, and what it means for exercise and health

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About Discovery Limited

Discovery Limited is a South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life assurance, short-term insurance, savings and investment products and wellness markets. Founded in 1992 by the current Group Chief Executive Officer Adrian Gore, Discovery was guided by a clear core purpose – to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives. Underpinning this core purpose is the belief that through innovation Discovery can be a powerful market disruptor.

The company, with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, has expanded its operations globally and currently serves over 6.1 million clients across South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, China and Singapore. Vitality, Discovery’s wellness programme, is the world’s largest scientific, incentive-based wellness solution for individuals and corporates. The global Vitality membership base now exceeds five million lives.

Discovery is an authorised financial services provider. It is listed among South Africa’s Top 40 companies on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange and trades under the code “DSY”.

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