Kids' Run Club celebrates 10th anniversary

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Op-ed by Dr. Robert Strang

Nova Scotia is home to an aging and sicker-than-average population.

Dr. Robert Strang is the chief public health officer of Nova Scotia.

While we are all inundated with messages about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity, there has been little change in the health outcomes of our communities.

The reality is that rates of unhealthy eating, physical inactivity and resulting preventable, chronic diseases continue to rise. This is a problem because preventable diseases put additional strains on the health-care system. Reducing the incidence of preventable diseases in Nova Scotia will go a long way to ensuring a vibrant, healthy and productive society. Not to mention, a more sustainable health-care system.

One way to achieve this goal is to create environments that support this behaviour change. That's exactly what the Doctors Nova Scotia Kids' Run Club does.

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Kids' Run Club, a free school-based running program that teaches kids the importance of living active lifestyles while giving them an opportunity to be active through running. I'm proud to say that a record-breaking 18,000 kids from 270 schools provincewide took part this year.

As a parent of three school-aged children, I understand first-hand the importance of having physical-activity opportunities in schools that are inclusive to everyone, outside of organized sport. I can also attest to the power our children have in encouraging the family to adopt these healthy behaviours. This year I, along with hundreds of other parents, once again joined my children at the start line of the Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run at the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon.

Doctors Nova Scotia's Kids' Run Club teaches youth the importance of leading healthy active lives and instills the importance of regular physical activity in children so they form habits that become part of their everyday lives as adults. It helps us advance Thrive! A Plan for a Healthier Nova Scotia, by creating a supportive environment for those good habits to form.

As a physician, I'm proud to be a part of an association who walks the walk. As a parent, I'm proud to see our medical community dedicated to the health and well-being of our youth. As a health promotion advocate, I congratulate Doctors Nova Scotia for making physical activity a priority and being a national leader in this area.

Most importantly, congratulations to more than 18,000 youth in the province who are taking steps towards a healthier future.

 

Dr. Robert Strang is the chief public health officer of Nova Scotia.

 

Organizations: Run Club, Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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