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Experts: Steady increase in childhood, adolescent obesity an epidemic

MEDIA RELEASE from WDG In Motion and Island Lake Public School

For Immediate Release
May 12, 2009

Community support strengthens for 2nd Annual Stride for Life Run/Walk — inspiring adults and youth toward increased daily activity for lifelong health

ORANGEVILLE, Ontario — The steady increase in children and adolescents living at an unhealthy weight has led some experts to call the issue an epidemic. Backed by strengthening support from its community, one local Orangeville school is finding success with Stride for Life, a fitness and fundraising event designed to promote active, healthy living among Dufferin Area residents. The second annual Stride for Life 1K Fun Run/Walk and 5K Trail Run will kick off on Saturday, May 30, 2009, at Orangeville’s Island Lake Conservation Area.

Statistics on the health of this country’s youth are alarming. Over half of Canadians aged five to 17 are not active enough for optimal growth and development, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (2007). In 2004, Ontario’s Ministry of Health Promotion reported that more than 1 in 4 of Ontario’s children aged 2 to 17 were overweight. In the fall of 2007, the Parent Council of Island Lake Public School created the idea of a fun run/walk and trail run to encourage regular physical activity in the lives of their school’s students, families and the community at large. As Stride for Life 2009 approaches, community support continues to strengthen for the initiative following the success of last year’s event.

“Last year, Stride for Life drew 188 participants and raised $9,000 toward educational enrichment for our school children,” said Jim Bonter, Principal, Island Lake Public School. “We’re seeing some positive changes already. This year, we’ve had tremendous interest from our student body to join our school’s new running team—now 40 strong and training for this event. On another level, it’s been great to show our students what we can achieve together with our teachers, our Parent Council and our community.”

Stride for Life 2009 has received an increasing amount of support from local area businesses and fitness experts –donating their time and financial resources toward the cause. While the event’s core focus is the 1K run/walk and 5K trail run, the addition of a new fitness area, during Stride for Life 2009 at Island Lake Conservation Area, will enable participants to experience different ways to get “in motion” with demos and free mini-classes of activities such as dance, karate, and kick-boxing.

“Regular physical activity at a young age helps our children to be more attentive, stay on task better in the classroom and reach higher individual achievement and that’s just the beginning,” said Bob Borden, Chair, Upper Grand District School Board. He adds, “We should applaud the efforts behind Stride for Life as a way to effect change so we can begin to turn these statistics around.”

Running, jogging and walking are among the most accessible, affordable and effective forms of weight-bearing physical fitness. The benefits of this kind of activity extend well beyond the classroom years. A recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that starting weight-bearing exercises and sports in teenage years increases the likelihood of stronger bones later in life. Another study from the Journal of Pediatrics (Jan 2009) suggests that the more fit participants were at age 13, the less likely they were to be obese or have elevated blood pressure in their 20s or 30s.

Island Lake Public School’s new “Spring into Spring” school running team will hit the trails with other youth, adults and seniors of all stages of fitness on Saturday, May 30, 2009, at Island Lake Conservation Area in Orangeville, Ontario. The 1K Fun Run/Walk will begin at 10:00 am preceded by a warm-up led by a representative from ACTS Family Fitness & Athletics. The 5K Trail Run will start at 10:30 am, preceded by a warm-up led by a representative from ACCESS Fitness. All runners will cross the MacMaster Pontiac Buick GMC Finish Line with an official time. Prizes will be awarded for a number of age divisions.

Participants of all ages are invited to check out the onsite fitness area from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, and sign up for free activities, weather permitting. Space is limited. Included in the ticket price is a 6-inch basic sub, courtesy of Orangeville`s Subway Sandwiches and Salads Restaurants.

Stride for Life 2009 is supported by the following: Gold sponsors – MacMaster Pontiac Buick GMC, and Subway Sandwiches and Salads Restaurants; Silver sponsors – Maccam and the Running Room; Bronze sponsors -Orangeville Home Hardware, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Music for Young Children; Sponsors-in-kind – Watermaker, Z`Arts Studio of Hockley Valley; Volunteer Fitness Suppliers – ACTS Family Fitness & Athletics, Access Fitness, Fitness Kickboxing Canada, Johanis Karate, Studio III, and Yogalaya.
To register for Stride for Life, visit:

About Island Lake Public School
Formed in 2002, Island Lake Public School is one of Orangeville’s largest and newest schools. Island Lake Public School has an enrolment of more than 500 students and is part of the Upper Grand District School Board. Presented by Island Lake Public School, Stride for Life supports Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph`s in motion active living strategy. For more information about Island Lake Public School and Stride for Life, visit:

About WDG In Motion
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (WDG) in motion is a health promotion strategy developed to increase the level of physical activity among adults and children in our region. Originally created by Saskatoon Regional Health Authority, in motion has received national and international recognition for its’ success in bringing together large segments of the population. For more information, visit or call 1-800-265-7293 x. 5603. 

For further information, interviews and/or photos, contact:
Kim Morningstar, Media Relations for ILPS Parent Council, at (519) 942-9378 or (519) 278-8718 or email
[email protected].

Categories: Media Releases