Wellness Week 2011

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

This year, New Brunswick will be celebrating its second annual Wellness Week from October 1st to October 7th. Wellness Week exists to encourage NBers to join the wellness movement and make positive changes regarding physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco-free living, and mental fitness.

Physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco-free living and mental fitness–these are New Brunswick’s four wellness pillars. New Brunswick’s Wellness Strategy emphasizes these four pillars for all NBers, youth included, and with good reason:
  • Although the majority of young NBers report having an excellent mental fitness, 13% of young NBers say their mental fitness is low. 
  • The majority of NB youth do not meet the Canadian Fitness Guidelines.
  • Fruit and vegetable consumption is low among NB youth; only a quarter consume the recommended amount.
  • Smoking rates have been continuously dropping, but the many negative health consequences that smoking brings about warrants smoking and other forms of tobacco consumption to be prioritized nonetheless. In the southeastern NB region, 69% of teenagers say that they have never tried smoking. 
  • Source:New Brunswick Health Council, Youth Population Health Snapshort, http://www.nbhc.ca
Wellness Week celebrates wellness in all its forms through a variety of activities around the province. Many community groups have organized wellness oriented activities open to the public for Wellness Week: http://www1.gnb.ca/0131/WellnessWeek/index-e.asp#

We New Brunswickers are fortunate to live in a safe place where well-being is emphasized. I was reminded of this when my family and I went to see the Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City presentation offered by Doctors Without Borders in Moncton’s Riverfront Park last weekend. There are more refugees around the world than there are Canadians: approximately 43 million people around the world are either refugees or internally displaced people, forced to leave their homes because of conflict and often live in horrendous makeshift living conditions. Many people struggle to get by with bland food rations and minimal water for years.

Given the opportunity we have to have easy access to nutritious, quality food, safe exercise and sports environments, and healthcare, we have no excuse for not being in tip-top shape. This week and beyond, let’s make the most of what NB has to offer and join the wellness movement. 
Originally published in the Times & Transcript on October 1st, 2011.
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