Fighting the fat epidemic - Reader's Digest reveals how canadians are getting
back to the basics to battle the bulge

MONTREAL, March 24 /CNW Telbec/ - Experts say it will take Canadians years to get back into shape. In a society where we find it increasingly difficult to shed the pounds, two factors seem to be playing havoc on our waistlines: (1) most amenities today have reduced our opportunity or need for movement, and (2) the availability and abundance of cheap, fast junk foods. In the April issue of Reader's Digest, writer Anne Mullens examines how Canadians have fallen victim to this troubling trend and what dramatic efforts are being made in communities and in all levels of government to help combat obesity across the country.

Readers Digest's explores some promising national initiatives--across five categories--that demand social change in support of Canada's fight against fat. Among those concepts examined:

    
    - Growing Greens--a unique approach that makes vegetables more desirable
      to children and adults alike. Teacher and former chef Paul Finkelstein
      is taking the concept one step further and has implemented a program
      whereby students are not only involved in growing wholesome foods, but
      they also use their bounty to create delicious, healthy lunches for
      fellow students.

    - Get up and Go--to School--community-based programs to safely encourage
      children to walk or bike to school.

    - Active City Redux--action plans to promote active transportation and
      economic improvement to cities.

    - Stepping Up Stairway Design--programs developed to assist Canadian
      businesses in encouraging stair use.

    - Government: "Get Trim, Canada!"--exploring government legislation to
      address societal factors driving the obesity problem.
    

"The obesity crisis is widespread and we wanted to explore how Canadians were dealing with the societal factors contributing to this epidemic," shares Reader's Digest Managing Editor, Derek Webster. "With statistics suggesting that obesity is killing 25,000 Canadians each year, we realized the need to shed some light on the issue and highlight how collectively, we can make changes, both big and small, in order to combat this life-threatening trend."

And in a fun follow-up to the results of the Global Obesity Poll recently published by Reader's Digest, readers can check out how individuals around the world responded to the challenge of sharing how much they weighed and then stepping on a scale to prove it. For example, almost everyone approached in Argentina, Taiwan and Thailand guessed their weight correctly within a pound or two; whereas less than half of Canadians who stepped onto the scale were able to guess their weight within five pounds. For a light-hearted look at the fascinating results of the Reader's Digest street team's scale stunt visit www.readersdigest.ca/scale.

Reader's Digest is a leading Canadian multi-brand media and marketing company that educates, entertains and inspires, connecting audiences throughout Canada. It publishes five magazines, including Reader's Digest and Sélection, Canada's most read magazines with 7.5 million readers a month. In 2008, it launched Best Health, a healthy lifestyle magazine for Canadian women and More of Our Canada, a companion magazine to the very popular Our Canada magazine. Along with being a premier publisher of books, music and video products, it operates a network of branded websites in Canada, including readersdigest.ca, selection.ca, ourcanada.ca, besthealthmag.ca, plaisirssante.ca, allrecipes.ca, allrecipes.qc.ca and tasteofhome.com.

Derek Webster, Paul Finkelstein and Anne Mullens are available for interviews.

SOURCE The Reader's Digest Association (Canada) ULC

For further information: For further information: or to book an interview, please contact: Kelly Hyatt, (905) 599-1132, kelly@smittencreative.com

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