As you know, YMCAs in Canada are committed to nurturing the potential of kids and promoting healthy living. I’m pleased to share a new initiative that we are working on with the CBC to do exactly that – to provoke, motivate and support all Canadians to live healthier lives.
I’m on the Advisory Board of Live Right Now, together with these other credible and inspiring organizations focused on healthy living in Canada:
- Breakfast for Learning
- Canadian Diabetes Association
- Canadian Obesity Network
- Dietitians of Canada
- Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group
- Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Participating with me from YMCA Canada, are Gisèle Tennant (National Manager of Health and Wellness) and Meghan Reddick (Vice President, Communications).
Let’s get involved!
Apart from providing advice and support to CBC to activate this initiative, we are also encouraging Canadians to join the movement online. Launching January 3rd, 2011, the CBC Live Right Now website will offer tools and resources for healthy living, including daily challenges, blog posts, goal tracking, body age calculator, recipes, videos etc.
The CBC is encouraging Canadians to register, build a profile and share with friends and family. I encourage you to sign-up, create your own local YMCA groups online, and demonstrate our leadership in engaging with our communities.
One of the daily challenges online will be to ‘Try the Y’ – encouraging Canadians to visit their local YMCA and YMCA-YWCA to receive their CBC Live Right Now special. Many associations will offer a two-week trial pass to help kick start their pledge to get healthy.
Check out the CBC Live Right Now short video: http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/1221254309/ID=1688777993
Gisèle Tennant, our guest blogger
I’ve asked Gisèle Tennant to be our guest blogger today, to discuss some of the health issues facing Canadians:
The stats are staggering. The latest Canadian Community Health Survey tells us that 17% of Canadian children are overweight and 9% of Canadian children are obese. As I think of the advances made in technology and medicine, it’s ironic that we are faced with the first generation of children who potentially could have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
How did we get there? To me, the answer to this complex issue is simple: the human body was designed to move. We are not moving as much as we used too and we are eating more. On one side of the energy balance scale we have the convenience of fast food, supersizing, low cost burgers, added sugar, junk food, soft drinks etc. On the other side of the scale we have sedentary entertainment, remote controls, drive-through conveniences, decreasing physical education in schools, all of which is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle.
Is it easy to eat less and move more?
Try to tell that to a low income family with children to feed. Education and awareness campaigns aren’t enough. People know what they should do, but it has been reported that those with low levels of education and in lower socioeconomic groups have a harder time purchasing and consuming foods that follow the food guide.
Thankfully, there is the YMCA
At the YMCA, we know that the social conditions in which people live (the social determinants of health) will affect their health. I am grateful that at the YMCA, socioeconomic status is not a barrier to living an active lifestyle. The YMCA has a duty to support families in helping children reach their full potential. For example, last year, $20.9 million in financial assistance has enabled 178,000 individuals and families to benefit from YMCA activities.
To us, health is more than just being active. It’s about having a network of support, a job, good working conditions, education and literacy and a safe place to live, while also staying active. That’s why YMCAs offer programs in all these areas for individuals, groups and families of all ages and abilities.
In your opinion, what is the number one way that YMCAs in Canada can support Canadians to live healthier lives?