Budget silent on physical activity and sport commitment to Canadians

    OTTAWA, March 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The Coalition for Active Living (CAL) is
still waiting for Canada's new government to fulfill it's election promise to
invest in a strong and better Canada by reducing chronic diseases like cancer
and heart disease caused by physical inactivity. The organization, which
represents over 100 physical activity, recreation and sport organizations
across Canada expressed disappointment that today's federal budget gave no
indication how the government will make the investments necessary to reverse
the trend of sedentary living, and increase health through physical activity.
    The commitment the Conservative Party of Canada made to Canadians in
their 2006 election platform STAND UP FOR CANADA, stated:

    The most important part of health care is prevention, including insuring
    that Canadians, especially children, have proper diet and exercise.

    A Conservative government will promote a wellness and physical fitness
    agenda to help Canadians and their children stay fit and healthy.

    A Conservative government will commit to spending at least one percent of
    total federal health funding annually on physical activity, including
    amateur sport and programs for school age children such as the Awards of
    Excellence program.

    Much work needs to be done to fulfill this pledge, but today's federal   
budget fell silent.

    "The previous government was good at making promises to invest in
physical activity and then not making the necessary investments." CAL Co-Chair
Christa Costas-Bradstreet commented, "We are hopeful that this government is
more interested in keeping a commitment, especially one that will benefit the
health and well being of our children and families, and ultimately reduce the
burden on our health care system."
    The Coalition for Active Living has developed a business plan and shared
it with the government. It describes the strategic investments necessary to
undertake an aggressive strategy to address the physical inactivity epidemic
in Canada. It targets new investments and incentives in areas of strategic
emphasis, which will be needed in order to achieve the pan-Canadian goal of
increasing physical activity by ten percent in every province and territory by
2010, as agreed to by all 14 provincial/territorial ministers responsible for
physical activity. These five points include:

    - Healthy Public Policy;
    - Community Physical Environments that encourage physical activity;
    - Supportive Social Environments;
    - Public Education; and
    - Research and Knowledge Exchange

    Recent investments by the Federal government in ParticipACTION and the
Children's Fitness Tax Credit are an important start in addressing Public
Education and Healthy Public Policy, but fall far short of the 1% investment
promised by the government. Without comprehensive investment, Canada will not
make the grade when it comes to increasing physical activity and decreasing
chronic disease.
    "We are committed to working with this government to fulfill its promise
to make a stronger and better Canada", says Costas-Bradstreet, "but it is now
time for them to make the investment they've promised Canadians."

    The Coalition for Active Living (CAL) is national action group of over
100 organizations advocating for health promotion/disease prevention and the
broader determinants of health. The goal of the Coalition is to ensure that
the environments in which Canadians live, work, learn and play support regular
physical activity. Together, members of the Coalition contribute resources and
expertise to develop, implement and evaluate the outcomes of joint actions,
which will enable all Canadians to achieve the health benefits of physical
activity. CAL is a member of the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of

For further information:

For further information: please contact: Stephen Grundy, The Coalition
for Active Living, 613-277-9979, info@activeliving.ca

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