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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.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has invested up to $2.5 million over three and a half years to help expand the 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.
Hockey FIT is a three-month, off-ice, healthy lifestyle program for men who are overweight or obese, between 35 and 65 years of age and fans of their local hockey team.
The program is offered free-of-charge as part of a federally-funded research study.
Hockey FIT has recently moved to Western Canada after successfully launching in 16 communities across Ontario. In Kelowna, Hockey FIT has partnered with the Kelowna Rockets to deliver the program.
The program curriculum includes an education component focusing on healthy eating and the importance of physical activity, as well as an exercise component, involving aerobic, strength and flexibility exercises. Connecting to participants' passion for hockey, the program incorporates activities like stickhandling drills to promote being active and includes the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the team's home rink.
For more information, visit www.hockeyfansintraining.org
(SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada; Government of Canada Supports Hockey Project Aimed at Promoting Healthy Weights for Men)
"The Government of Canada knows that physical activity is a pillar of healthy living. That's why we are committed to supporting and encouraging initiatives like the Hockey FIT program that get Canadians moving and keep them active through physical activity and sport. This program is encouraging men across Canada to take their love of hockey and turn it into an opportunity to improve their health by moving more and eating healthier foods."
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
"Canadian men live an average of four years less than Canadian women—with an even greater gap for Indigenous men and men living in rural settings or with lower incomes. Finding innovative ways to encourage men to get more active, improve their diets and achieve and maintain healthy weights is important to help change this trend. Programs like Hockey FIT are an example of turning a passion into a path to improving one's health and well-being."
Dr. Theresa Tam
Canada's Chief Public Health Officer
"Men are under-represented in health promotion programs and visit their doctor less than women; this may be associated with worsening health indicators in men compared to women in Canada. Our research suggests that men associate physical activity with sport and athleticism and prefer health promotion programs that incorporate competition in the company of other men. Given Canada's love of hockey and that junior hockey in large and small communities across the country is often a rallying point, Hockey Fans in Training will engage men who are fans of their favourite junior hockey team to participate in adopting a healthy lifestyle and improve their health. Our partnerships cut across public and private sectors to provide a range of innovative tools and technologies to support long term health change in Canadian men, which we believe will positively impact their families too."
Dr. Robert Petrella
Professor and Head (Chair) Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Professor Emeritus, Department of Family Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University
Learn more about how you can sign up for Hockey FIT by clicking here.