March 23, 2016

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology released a report on Obesity in Canada: A Whole-of-Society Approach for a Healthier Canada on March 1, 2016. The report includes 21 recommendations on actions needed to fight obesity in Canada.

In Spring 2015 Drs. Kirstin Lane and Jonathon Fowles presented to the committee on behalf of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) and CSEP’s Exercise is Medicine Canada initiative. Their excellent presentations were part of the intensive study the committee conducted between February 2014 and June 2015 that led to the recommendations.

“I was extremely pleased the Senate Committee recognized the value of having qualified Exercise Professionals be part of the healthcare system and healthcare team,” said Dr. Lane who applauded the Senate Committee for tackling such an important health issue.

At CSEP we fully support this report as it charts a course to a healthier future for Canadians and as Dr. Lane emphasized “CSEP, our certified members and Exercise is Medicine Canada are poised to lead the way.”

Recommendations pertinent to enhancing physical activity, include:

Recommendation 14

The committee therefore recommends that the federal government increase funding to ParticipACTION to a level sufficient for the organization to:

  • Proceed with Active Canada 20/20; and
  • Become the national voice for Canada’s physical activity messaging.

Recommendation 15
The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health and the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities together use the recently established National Health and Fitness Day to promote the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.

Recommendation 16
The committee further recommends that the Public Health Agency of Canada provide sustained or bridged funding for pilot projects that have been assessed as effective.

Recommendation 17
The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health in discussion with provincial and territorial counterparts as well as non-governmental organizations already engaged in these initiatives:

  • Encourage improved training for physicians regarding diet and physical activity;
  • Promote the use of physician counselling, including the use of prescriptions for exercise;
  • Bridge the gap between exercise professionals and the medical community by preparing and promoting qualified exercise professionals as a valuable part of the healthcare system and healthcare team;
  • Address vulnerable populations, such as Canadians of lower socio-economic status including Canada’s Aboriginal population, and pregnant women;
  • Advocate for childcare facility and school programs related to breakfast and lunch programs, improved physical education, physical activity and nutrition literacy courses; and,
  • Engage provincial governments in discussions about infrastructure requirements for communities that encourage active transportation and active play.

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