NB’s 2011 Provincial Wellness Conference

From my Healthy Living column in Moncton’s Times & Transcript.

New Brunswick’s 2011 Provincial Wellness Conference, appropriately entitled Building Momentum: the Wellness Movement in New Brunswick, was held last week in Moncton. Hosted by the Department of Wellness, Culture, and Sport and several partners, the conference was attended by delegates from a variety of organizations, governmental, private, and non profit, from a variety of sectors (health care, poverty reduction, outdoor promotion) in NB.

The Conference featured speakers on health care and different cultural groups in NB, building community partnerships, reducing tobacco use, obesity, and psychological health– a little bit of everything that is encompassed in the large topic of wellness was included.

Opening the Conference was Trevor Holder, Minister of Wellness, Culture, and Sport, who emphasized the gravity of the state of wellness in NB, proclaiming it a crisis that needs to be tackled. In his speech, Minister Holder spoke of the need for developing a culture of wellness in New Brunswick. Currently taking an introductory sociology class at Université de Moncton, I have been repeatedly been hearing about the notion of culture in the past weeks and found the idea of a culture of wellness interesting.

Teenagers often tend to have their own culture, separate from, although nevertheless influenced by that of adults’. We often talk differently, dress differently, and react differently to experiences than our parents do.

Considering that adults are the ones with the most input on how our lives will proceed up until early adulthood, it’s rather impressive that teens over the years have been able to develop their own culture. Even if being peers unites us to a certain degree because of common realities and stages of life, when reflected upon, it is astounding that we are able to create and become strong proponents of our own culture despite the important influence of the cultures upheld in our communities.

Whether the teen culture is one that is beneficial for teenagers to subscribe is debatable, the negative effects of peer pressure being deterrents to acceptance of peer pressure, the possible positive effects (e.g. student who is urged to participate in afterschool sports and activities by friends) often underplayed.

My point is, if it is possible for a group of individuals (teens) who aren’t official leaders of their world to develop their own culture of widespread influence, it is possible for individuals with an interest in wellness to develop a culture that places importance on wellness, even if these individuals seemingly aren’t in charge of their communities. Although the support of a variety of organizations in NB is necessary to resolve the wellness crisis, anyone can contribute to improving the wellness of NB by starting with improving the wellness of himself, his friends, and his family.

Originally published in the Times & Transcript on April 2nd, 2011.

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