Wellness, Culture and Sport
Wellnews team to visit Caraquet (09/01/30)
Jan. 30, 2009
CARAQUET (CNB) - The second phase of a government campaign to reverse rates of obesity and physical inactivity among New Brunswick children and youth will feature the New
Brunswick Wellnews Team at Place Saint-Pierre in Caraquet on Saturday, Jan. 31. Wellness, Culture and Sport Minister Hédard Albert made the announcement today.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the Random Acts of Wellness event, which is part of the Good News For a Change campaign, a uniformed Wellnews team will encourage families to be
"It is both easy and fun," Albert said. "Families can take a fun and informative quiz on wellness. They can also tell their story on videotape in a simulated news anchor format, or enter their
story on the website."
Everyone who shares a wellness story at the event or on the Good News for a Change website is entered into a contest for Tourism and Parks getaway packages, $5,000 in healthy food
coupons, and a food makeover by McCain dietitian Rose Reisman.
"We believe that if families are made aware that even simple lifestyle changes can bring about significant improvements in wellness, they will make those changes," Albert said. "If we don't
start doing something now, kids today may face a shorter life expectancy than their parents. So our objective is to make parents aware of this information so they can make the necessary
changes to improve the lives of their children."
The Good News for a Change campaign promotes wellness in four key areas: physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco-free living, and mental fitness and resilience.
Obesity and smoking are the two leading causes of preventable death. Only 20 per cent of Canadians exercise with sufficient regularity to achieve optimal health benefits. New Brunswick is
behind national levels.
"We want New Brunswickers to understand that we are facing a major wellness crisis," Albert said. "Youth obesity rates have tripled over the past 25 years. Only a third of Atlantic
Canadians eat enough vegetables and fruit for good health, and 54 per cent of our children and youth are not physically active enough to achieve health benefits. This campaign is designed to
encourage parents to change their behaviour, improve their families' wellness, and lead by example for their children.
"Wellness is good for our province, and we are encouraging people to be healthier," said Albert. "A healthy population will help us build a stronger, better, self-sufficient New Brunswick.
However, the changes required for our residents to be well are significant. We believe this campaign will reach many New Brunswick families and engage them in adopting healthier lifestyles
and being role models for their children."
Albert will be available to media during the event. Additional information on wellness will also be available.
EDITOR'S NOTE: More information on the wellness initiative follows. MEDIA CONTACT: Danielle McFarlane, communications, Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport, 506-457-6445.
Wellness quick factsHealthy eating
- New Brunswick's youth obesity rates have tripled over the past 25 years.
- Obesity is the second leading preventable cause of death after cigarette smoking.
- Data shows that both boys and girls in most grade levels have a low intake of most food groups in the Canada Food Guide.
- Atlantic Canadians eat fewer vegetables and fruit than other Canadians. Only a third of Atlantic Canadians eat enough vegetables and fruit for good health.
- Consumption of vegetables and fruit helps prevent many diseases, and promotes good health.
- Eating dinner as a family is associated with healthy food intake patterns, including more vegetables and fruit, less fried food and soft drinks, as well as higher fiber and nutrient intakes.
- An increase in portion size has contributed to childhood obesity.
- Fifty-four per cent of New Brunswick children and youth are not physically active enough to achieve health benefits.
- Canada's physical activity guidelines recommend that children and youth should spend fewer than two hours per day in sedentary activities such as computer time and watching television.
- Forty-seven per cent of students surveyed in New Brunswick reported taking part in school-organized, non-competitive activities or sports, and 42 per cent reported participating in
competitive activities or sports.
- Active families that participate in regular physical activity not only strengthen their bodies and minds, they also strengthen their relationships. Shared activities foster togetherness and
- Family physical activity does not have to be organized. Often, it is the unstructured play opportunities that are most enjoyable.
- Students who use tobacco show a decrease in academic achievement and motivation, and are at increased risk of dropping out of school. Tobacco use is a greater indicator of dropping out
than marijuana use or alcohol use. Using tobacco at an early age has also been associated with other risk behaviours, including problem-substance use.
- Forty-three per cent of all students felt that it would be easy to get cigarettes if they wanted to smoke.
- Overall, 23 per cent of students who have never smoked a cigarette have low confidence in their ability to remain smoke-free in the future.
- The highest susceptibility to smoking occurs in grades 8 (28 per cent) and 9 (27 per cent).
- Students who have a family member who smokes are almost twice as likely to report smoking.
- Within four weeks of quitting, blood circulation begins to improve, lungs work better, and physical activity becomes easier.
- Within three years of quitting, the risk of a heart attack will be similar to someone who has never smoked.
- After five years smoke-free, the risk of getting cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, bladder, kidney and pancreas is decreased.
- Most smokers would like to quit. In the past 12 months, 34 per cent made one to three attempts, and 13 per cent made four or more attempts.
- When mental fitness needs are not met, youth may be at higher risk for experiencing difficulties related to their emotional, social, and physical development.
- At low levels of mental fitness, youth appear to be more likely to smoke. As mental fitness increases, the likelihood falls.
- As mental fitness increases, the probability of engaging in competitive activities or sports almost doubles. While not as large, an increase in mental fitness is also associated with an
increase in participation in non-competitive activities or sports.
- At low levels of mental fitness, the body mass index (BMI - a measure of a person's weight in comparison to his or her height) tends to be relatively high for youth. As mental fitness
increases, there is a decrease in BMI scores.
- Researchers found that laughing increased blood flow by more than 20 per cent, an effect similar to that of aerobic activity. The positive effect of laughing lasted for 30-45 minutes.
- Laughing lifts the mood, reduces the effect of stress by lowering stress hormone levels, and boosts levels of endorphins, which have pain-relieving properties.