OTTAWA, Feb. 5, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, is taking part in a National Health and Fitness Day Roundtable that brings together health and physical activity leaders from across all sectors including academia, non-government organizations, volunteer groups and the private sector. The roundtable was convened in recognition of the coming into force of Bill S-211, which proclaimed the first Saturday in June as National Health and Fitness Day.
The Roundtable, led by Senator Nancy Greene Raine and Member of Parliament John Weston, will focus on determining opportunities for promoting National Health and Fitness Day in Canada, with an emphasis on building on collective action to support health-enhancing physical activity and healthy living opportunities for Canadians.
During her opening address, Minister Ambrose underscored the importance of advancing innovative partnerships and working collaboratively with provinces and territories, the private sector and not-for-profit sectors to promote programs and activities that support healthy living, physical activity, and chronic disease prevention for Canadians of all ages. She reiterated that all sectors of society have a role to play, and emphasized the Government of Canada's commitment in this area by highlighting recent multi-sectoral partnerships that focus on the importance of physical activity including:
- The Play Exchange, a national challenge to seek out innovative ideas to promote healthier, active living across Canada;
- Build Our Kids' Success (BOKS), a before-school physical activity program that helps address the obstacles that prevent children from getting enough physical activity so they can lead more active and healthier lifestyles; and
- RBC Learn to Play Project, a national program aimed at improving physical literacy among Canada's children and youth.
The Minister finished by applauding Senator Raine and MP Weston for their dedication and success in having the first Saturday of June officially established as a national day to promote health and fitness for all Canadians, and acknowledged that with the efforts of other leaders in attendance at the Roundtable, the important issue of healthy living and physical activity can be advanced together.
- The first National Health and Fitness Day, since the passage of Bill S-211 will be held on June 6, 2015.
- In Canada, a third of all children and youth are overweight or obese.
- Only four percent of Canadian children are getting the recommended 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity daily.
- The economic costs of obesity are estimated at $4.6 billion in 2008, based on costs associated with the eight chronic diseases most consistently linked to obesity.
- The Play Exchange, BOKS and the RBC Learn to Play Project are all funded under the Public Health Agency of Canada's multi-sectoral partnership approach which invests $20 million each year to address the risk factors that underlie chronic diseases and childhood obesity, in particular, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating and tobacco use. Federal investments are matched by private sector partners so that we reach more Canadians.
"With many chronic diseases being entirely preventable through regular physical activity and healthy eating as part of a healthy lifestyle, it's essential to reinforce to Canadians of all ages the important role that physical activity plays in their health, well-being and overall quality of life. Today's discussions will allow us to leverage the knowledge, expertise, reach and resources of each organization. I am certain efforts and events such as these will help lead to even more innovative ideas and partnerships to engage Canadians in living healthier, more active lifestyles."
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health
"This is a ground-breaking meeting of the best and the brightest from around Canada to turn the corner on dismal trends of inactivity in our country. Following hard on the heels of the National Health and Fitness Day Act being passed in December, this event will help wake up our nation to the work we all need to do to make Canada the Fittest Nation on Earth!"
MP West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country
SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada
For further information: Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Media Relations, Public Health Agency of Canada, (613) 957-2983