More Than 78 Teams, 1300 Students Complete Assembly of First Nations Fitness Challenge
OTTAWA, Nov. 17 – More than 78 teams and 1300 students completed an AFN Fitness Challenge aimed at raising awareness about the positive relationship between diabetes and healthy living. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo, and AFN Women’s Council Chair Kathleen McHugh launched the challenge which called on teachers to organize teams of First Nations students to engage in 30 minutes of physical activity each day, last month. The challenge wrapped up on November 14th, World Diabetes Day.”We’ve had an amazing response from both teachers and students,” said AFN Women Council Chair Kathleen McHugh. “Diabetes rates are 3 to 5 times higher among First Nations than the general population and that means that many of our families are touched by the disease, either directly, or through friends and neighbours. We aimed this challenge at our youth because we are concerned that First Nations children and youth are at high risk of developing diabetes due to a lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and obesity. We are extremely pleased that so many students and teachers took up the challenge and hope they found the challenge fun and informative.”
Aerobic exercise 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 and exercise can help reduce the risk.
“We want to thank both the teachers and students who participated in the challenge for positively contributing to the well-being of their families and communities by setting an example and becoming role models through their participation in this challenge. We hope the youth who participated feel empowered to carry healthy habits with them throughout their lives,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.
Top performers and top teams will have their names entered into a draw, and winners will be announced in December. This year’s prizes include: A Pittsburgh Penguin Hockey Jersey signed by Kris Letang (secured by Dan Frawley, former Pittsburgh Penguin captain); a one-day community fitness training session with Ultra-marathon runner Ray Zahab and Zahab’s ‘Impossible2possible’ T-shirts, Nike Air Native N7 shoes for the entire team, a Nike Product Package which includes a bag, water bottle, socks and t-shirt and a painting by Harry Wilmot entitled “Life Partners.”
Kathleen McHugh and National Chief Shawn Atleo also called on government to continue to support the Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative, a key program that supports the prevention and treatment of diabetes among First Nations which is up for renewal next year.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations in Canada.
For further information: Karyn Pugliese, AFN Communications at (613) 292-1877 or kpugliese[at]afn.ca