Project will support more than 12,000 teen girls in being more active, eating healthy food, and improving their mental well-being
OTTAWA, May 14, 2019 /CNW/ - Canada continues to face a growing burden of chronic disease, with unhealthy lifestyles playing a key role in increasing Canadians' risk of developing illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Physical activity is a pillar of healthy living, yet only 26% of girls in Canada get enough physical activity. This trend continues into adolescence, when activity levels often drop dramatically.
Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced $2.7 million to support FitSpirit's Physical Activity and Healthy Lifestyles for Teen Girls. This project will create physical and social environments that promote healthy living for girls aged 12 to 17 who are living in Quebec and Ontario.
The project offers a variety of school-based and structured physical activities and workshops focused on nutrition, sleep, and mental well-being to support more than 12,000 teenage girls per year in Ontario and Quebec. To encourage the participation of girls who may face barriers to healthy living, including Indigenous youth and newcomers to Canada, diverse community partners will help recruit participants, and schools from low income and high immigrant population neighborhoods will also be selected.
The Minister made this announcement while launching the Ottawa-Gatineau FitSpirit Celebration—one in a series being held across Ontario and Quebec this month where girls participate in a range of physical activity challenges that are supported by community partners.
"We are committed to supporting and encouraging safe and inclusive initiatives that get Canadians moving—particularly Canadian children and youth—and to keeping them active through a range of activities. I am proud to support FitSpirit's Physical Activity and Healthy Lifestyles for Teen Girls project, which will have a positive impact on the health and well-being of participants in the program now, and lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits and healthy living."
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
"Unfortunately, we know that young Canadians are not moving enough. Through the Government of Canada's investment in FitSpirit's Physical Activity and Healthy Lifestyles for Teen Girls project, we will support more than 12,000 girls per year to be more active as part of a healthier lifestyle to improve their overall health."
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health
"Only 38% of children and youth meet physical activity guidelines, which call for a total of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity, plays an important role in the well-being and quality of life of Canadians, and helps prevent chronic diseases. It is encouraging to see FitSpirit's commitment to getting more girls to be active and helping lower their risk of chronic disease later in life."
Dr. Theresa Tam
Canada's Chief Public Health Officer
"We are so thankful to have confirmed this important partnership with the Government of Canada. We will work closely together in helping teenage girls to be physically active throughout their lives by offering them a new and fun way to experience sport and physical activity. If girls commit to an active lifestyle in their teenage years, they are more likely to continue to be active in adulthood. The best way to encourage them is to provide a safe and supportive space to pursue this incredible journey."
FitSpirit President and Founder
- In addition to the invest of $2.7 million, the Public Health Agency of Canada has leveraged more than $3.1 million from partners through its Multi-Sectoral Partnerships to Promote Healthy Living and Prevent Chronic Disease program.
- FitSpirit is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help teenage girls discover the advantages and the enjoyment that come from taking part in physical activity. It supports the creation of safe, inclusive and positive environments to enhance girls' adoption of healthier lifestyles and their participation in physical activity.
- As part of this project, girls will receive guidance from healthy living experts such as nutritionists and kinesiologists.
- Up to 200 ambassadors and 350 student leaders will be recruited and trained by FitSpirit to support the delivery of this project. They will have the opportunity to contribute ideas for physical activities that are fun and engaging, and that will have a positive impact on girls' overall health and well-being.
SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada
For further information: Contacts, Thierry Bélair, Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Media Relations, Public Health Agency of Canada, 613-957-2983; Public Inquiries: 613-957-2991, 1-866 225-0709