The Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it! (MEND) program will be getting a boost after an announcement in Kamloops Tuesday morning.
Health Minister Terry Lake with Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone announced a $2 million increase to the program at the Kamloops Community YMCA/YWCA.
The MEND program was first introduced in the province in 2013 and is available to families with children from five to 13. The program provides twice-weekly sessions that promote healthy meal planning, goal setting and physical activity.
The Enders family, Jackie, Dwayne and 11-year-old daughter Brooke, participated in the MEND program in Kamloops and were at the announcement on Tuesday to share their experience.
“We enjoyed the MEND program because it taught us about nutrition, about portion size, about sodium and sugars. It also gave us a chance as a family to play in the gym,” said Jackie. “We learned that as busy as we thought we were, we could still find the time for half an hour an evening to exercise … it’s about being active together as a family and through that activity as a family, we were getting the exercise that we need.”
The MEND program is partnered with the Provincial Health Services Authority and the Childhood Obesity Foundation which works with the YMCA and B.C. Recreation and Parks Association.
It is available in 23 B.C. communities including, Kamloops, Fort St. John, Burnaby, Surrey, Richmond, Kent-Agassiz, Squamish, and Penticton.
"Children participating in the MEND program increased physical activity and met Canadian physical activity guidelines. MEND also helped families to build physical activity into their daily routine. In addition, children participating in the MEND program increased fruit and vegetable intake and MEND helped families to better understand healthy eating and to build it into their daily routine,” said Dr. Tom Warshawski, chair of the Childhood Obesity Foundation.
Families interested in participating in MEND program can call their local YMCA or B.C. Recreation and Parks Association branch, or visit: www.bchealthykids.ca