Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity and healthy eating, plays an important role in the well-being and quality of life of Canadians and helps prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Excess weight is a top risk factor for developing chronic diseases and significantly compromises the health of Canadians. In Canada, men (particularly those who are middle-aged) are almost 35% more likely than women to be overweight or obese.
Today, on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament, announced that the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) will be investing up to $2.5 million over three and a half years to help expand Western University’s Hockey Fans in Training (Hockey FIT) program across the country. This program aims to motivate Canadian adult males to eat healthier foods and become more physically active by incorporating participants’ passion for hockey into the initiative. The MP made this announcement while meeting with project partners at a participating YMCA and viewing a demonstration of some of the activities that participants take part in through the program.
Hockey FIT will partner with Canadian Hockey League (CHL) teams and YMCA locations to implement and deliver 12-week sessions targeting 1,280 men who are overweight or obese between the ages of 35 and 65 in at least 32 communities across Canada. The program includes a classroom-based education component focusing on healthy eating and the importance of physical activity, and an exercise component, including training in aerobic, strength and flexibility exercises. Connecting to participants’ passion for hockey, the program also incorporates activities like stick handling drills with rubber pucks to promote being active. It also includes the chance to go behind the scenes at a CHL team’s home rink like visiting the team dressing room and chatting with players and staff. Hockey FIT will use various social media and technologies to support participants during and after the program.