MEND Program Coming to Saskatchewan
A big donation to the University of Saskatchewan is hoping to make children in the province smaller.
“We care about Saskatchewan people and feel a strong responsibility to address the pressing health issue of childhood obesity, as our children's health will determine the future health of our province," said Arnie Arnott, president and CEO of Saskatchewan Blue Cross.
Saskatchewan Blue Cross has announced it's donating $1 million this September to the university's college of kinesiology to launch a program known as MEND - mind, exercise, nutrition, do it.
They're hoping to get a handle on the growing numbers of obese children in the province. With 29 per cent of children aged two to 17 overweight or obese, Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the developed world.
This year, the program will begin looking for recruits in Saskatoon, hoping to lead 35 families through a 10-week program, which includes nutrition lessons, setting goals and field trips to the grocery store.
Looking ahead, the program will expand to Prince Alberta and northern communities. Then, it will hit the southern part of the province, including Regina.
Over three years, the program hopes to get 500 families in Saskatchewan away from sedentary lifestyles and eating processed foods. All the while, researchers will be gathering data on participants as they progress, including nutrition knowledge, self esteem rating and body mass index.
Saskatchewan is the second province after Alberta to adopt this program, which is also in place in various parts of Europe, New Zealand and the United States.
*Photo by aussiegall
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