Fit ‘n’ Healthy: The Return of ParticipACTION

If you are between the ages of 35 and 55, chances are you are familiar with ParticipACTION. Heck, I am 32 and I remember it from when I was a kid.

ParticipACTION was around for about 30 years. In early 2000, it’s funding got cut and the program was put on the back burner for a while. Then, in 2007, ParticipACTION was re-financed by the government and it is out in full force again trying to increase the activity level of all Canadians.

I, for one, am excited to see the re-birth of such an influential, active non-profit organization.

Here are some true, but scary facts as provided by ParticipACTION:

– Childhood obesity has tripled in three decades from five per cent to 15 per cent.

– Only nine per cent of Canadian children and youth (aged 5 to 19) meet the recommended guidelines in Canada’s Physical Activity Guides for Children and Youth. WOW.

– More than 50 per cent of Canadians are “inactive”. That means not even a 30-minute walk.

– Half of Canadian adults are overweight.

– If Canadian adults got more regular physical activity we could reduce mortality rates by 30 per cent.

– One out of every seven adults in Canada are obese.

– Men and women who eat fruits and vegetables less than three times a day are more likely to be obese than those who eat five or more.

– If you are overweight, you are much more likely to gain weight than to lose it.

We hear a lot about American studies so, how do Canadians compare to Americans?

– In 2004, 23.2 per cent of Canadian women were obese as compared to 32.6 per cent of American women.

– Canadian men in the same study were also lower than their American counterparts, 22.9 per cent to 26.7 per cent. American men substantially outweighed Canadian men in the highest class of obesity, class III.

ParticipACTION has a great new website to help you with ideas on how to get your family moving.

Start adding activities to your day that you enjoy and build on them as your strength, endurance and flexibility increase. You can find them at

Active Healthy Kids Canada has given our kids a “D” grade since it started giving our Canadian kids report cards on health in 2005. Why have we not improved on our kids’ activity levels in four years of knowing that we are letting them down?

Most likely because it takes work, time and money and, quite frankly, we are lazy. We like to take the easy way out as parents.

We blame the school system and anyone else we can to take the blame off ourselves.

At first glance, we think we are doing what’s right. Putting them in every activity under the sun to keep them busy, but not giving them any home-cooked meals with any nutrient value.

We run to get fast food because it’s easy. We pack Lunchables because they are easy and the kids will eat them.

Nutrition is 80 per cent of the equation. Without proper nutrition our bodies will not be able to recover and feed our cells the necessary nutrients to build.

Take the time to pack healthy foods for yourself and your kids. It will give both of you more energy for your day and reduce mood swings and irritability for both of you.

Your kids will thank you for it.

This column is provided by Peak Fitness. Mrs. Lee Randell is an ACE certified personal trainer. Contact information and past articles are available Anyone who wants to begin an exercise program should consult their physician first.

This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at

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