Assembly of First Nations Congratulates Fitness Challenge Winners
OTTAWA, Dec. 18 – Today, AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine and AFN Women’s Council Chair Kathleen McHugh congratulated the winners of the AFN Fitness Challenge and all those who participated.
Top performers and top teams were entered into a draw for prizes at the Special Chiefs’ Assembly held in Ottawa last week. Winners are as follows:<>
“We want to thank all those who participated in the challenge, and our partners who kindly donated prizes for the winners,” said AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine. “All those who participated have done an excellent job of raising awareness about the importance of daily fitness and exercise in our communities.”
“The Challenge to First Nations was a great success in its first year, and we congratulate the winners, as well as also everyone who got involved and shared their experiences with us,” said AFN Women’s Council Chair Kathleen McHugh. “We hope to see the AFN Fitness Challenge become an annual event.”
The three month-long Fitness Challenge, aimed at raising awareness about the positive relationship between exercise and diabetes, was launched at the Annual General Assembly in Quebec City last July. The challenge wrapped up on November 14th, World Diabetes Day.
Approximately 42 teams from across Canada, composed of Chiefs, Regional Chiefs and community leaders, led teams of five to ten participants in a three-month long challenge in which they were asked to participate in daily fitness activities and record their progress. Ages ranged from ten to 80 years old. Team activities included walking, running, biking, golfing, ice skating, mall walking, stair climbing, ice hockey and traditional dancing.
Diabetes is three to five times more common among First Nations than the general population. With one-third of adults 50 and older suffering from diabetes, almost all First Nation families are touched by the disease. Many First Nations children and youth are also at high risk of developing diabetes due to a lack of exercise, poor diet, and obesity. Aerobic and resistance exercise can help people with diabetes better control their blood sugar levels by burning fat and glucose. Diabetics are also in a high-risk group for heart disease and stroke. Exercise can help reduce the risk.
While the first Fitness Challenge targeted leadership, a similar campaign next year will target school-aged youth.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations in Canada.
The AFN Women’s Council ensures that the perspectives of First Nations’ women are included in all AFN policy directives and activities, as well as ensuring that the AFN is an effective advocate on behalf of First Nations women.
For further information: Karyn Pugliese, Health Communications, (613) 292-1877, [email protected]