Government of Canada Invests in Project Promoting Walking to Prevent Chronic Disease

UPnGO with ParticipACTION motivates people to be active every day

OTTAWA, July 31, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, today announced funding of over $2.5 million towards a pilot project to lower the risk of chronic disease and increase active, healthy living. Together with the Government of British Columbia, the UPnGO with ParticipACTION project asks adults to take up the challenge to walk 30 minutes daily for 23 days, the length of time needed to develop new habits.

The Government of Canada is partnering with the Government of British Columbia, Public Inc., Dr. Mike Evans and the Evans Health Lab Team, Astra Zeneca, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and others to launch UPnGO with ParticipACTION, which will be rolled out in British Columbia and Ontario.

Dr. Mike Evans and the Evans Health Lab create innovative approaches that encourage people to adopt behaviours that promote healthy living and prevent chronic diseases.  UPnGO with ParticipACTION, inspired by Dr. Evans's successful internet video, "23.5 Hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?", delivers a compelling message of the significant health benefits of walking 30 minutes daily.

Public Inc. will develop the technology and marketing approaches to encourage and reward inactive Canadians to "sit less and move more", using a unique combination of digital and social media. The UPnGO with ParticipACTION project rewards changes in positive daily habits through on-going positive communication, recognition, and incentives for making and maintaining healthy behaviours such as walking.

The Government of British Columbia is partnering with ParticipACTION to highlight the importance of the need to increase physical activity rates in the province. Through this partnership, the British Columbia government and ParticipACTION are building on existing programs, in conjunction with other community-based partners, to make being physically active  the easy choice for all .

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2015 is encouraging active living by establishing an expert panel to study the potential scope of an Adult Fitness Tax Credit to support Canadians in making healthy choices.
  • Since 2006, the Government has invested more than $200 million in obesity-related research.
  • Forty-eight per cent of Canadian adults report being inactive, meaning that their level of physical activity was not sufficient to meet the threshold of at least moderate activity.
  • Research shows that as much as half of the decline in the ability to perform usual activities of daily living between 30 and 70 is the result of an inactive lifestyle.
  • Physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour are the most prevalent modifiable risk factors for chronic disease.
  • Adults should be active 2.5 hours per week to achieve health benefits.
  • Adding any amount of physical activity can bring some health benefits, by serving as a positive step on the way toward meeting physical activity guidelines.
  • As physical activity levels increase, relative risk of chronic disease falls.


"Many chronic diseases are preventable through regular physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. This project presents an innovative way to reinforce to Canadian adults the importance of physical activity to their overall health, well-being and quality of life. Our Government remains committed to working with the provinces and territories, and with the private and not-for-profit sectors, to encourage all Canadians to be more physically active."
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"B.C. has a very active population – and that's reflected in our positive health outcomes. But we can always do more by encouraging everyone to get up from their desks and move."
Terry Lake
BC Health Minister

"Dr. Mike Evans' 23.5 Hours video showed millions of people that overall health can be improved through regular, physical activity - even as little as walking 30 minutes a day. We were inspired by that video and looked for ways to amplify that message, so we created UPnGO with ParticipACTION to mobilize and nudge an important daily action."
Phillip Haid
Co-Founder and CEO

Public Inc."We're excited to be collaborating with such groups as Public Inc., Dr. Mike Evans and the Evans Health Lab, ParticipACTION and the Public Health Agency of Canada to bring the innovative UPnGO program to life. This is an important and unique partnership that builds on our commitment to improving the health and quality of life of people living with chronic disease in Canada."
Lisa Marsden
Vice President, Government Affairs
Astra Zeneca Canada

Associated Links

Public Health Agency of Canada
Physical Activity Tips for Adults (18-64 years)
Benefits of Physical Activity


SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

For further information: Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Public Health Agency of Canada : Media Relations, (613) 957-2983; Public Inquiries: (613) 957-2991, 1-866 225-0709


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