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Obesity network chapter at Guelph-Humber

Corey Martinez
News Reporter

With the overflow of school assignments and classroom drama it’s easy to lose focus on what matters the most – your health.

Fourth year Kinesiology students at the University of Guelph-Humber held an Obesity Awareness event on Thursday morning, part of showcasing the institution’s chapter of Canadian Obesity Network.

The students set up a trivia game in the main atrium where participants tested their health knowledge. There was also a raffle for gym memberships, yoga mats and duffel bags to help kick start a healthier lifestyle.

“When your mental health is low you won’t want to eat as well or get outside as much.” said Rebecca Speare, 21, a kinesiology student.

“It’s a vicious cycle where they add to each other when low,” she said. “Trying to be happy and healthy is beneficial in all aspects.”

Obesity is a chronic condition that continues to get worse without proper care and it is diagnosed when excessive body fat starts to threaten one’s health.

“Obesity isn’t just a calorie in and calorie out condition,” said Jordan Lee, 23, a Kinesiology student at Guelph-Humber.  “There are many factors that can affect someone.”

He listed poor mental health, un-healthy eating habits and genetics as factors that may be contributing factors to obesity.

“We’re trying to get people to think about that when they come in today,” Lee said.

A 2014 report from Statistics Canada showed 199,623 Canadians self-reported as being obese. The Canadian Medical Association classified obesity as a disease in October and ruled it is a condition that requires more research, treatment and prevention.

The Canadian Obesity Network is a nationwide network with chapters in schools all across Canada. Its vision is to be the leading voice for obesity and to help improve the quality of life of Canadians living with the condition.

Kinesiology professor Janet Pritchard had the opportunity to start up a chapter at Guelph-Humber and students were more than willing to get on board.

“It makes me feel proud that they’re willing to spend time and promote the message about obesity,” she said.

“It’s not just a problem of somebody being too lazy to exercise or consuming too many calories. There are a lot of other dimensions that we’re trying to educate everyone on.”

Long commutes, sedimentary lifestyles and lack of sleep are sometimes a part of life but even small acts of activity in one’s daily routine may help maintain health.

“For every hour in front of a screen, get up and take a five minute walk or just get up and move around,” said Lee. “It doesn’t even have to be a lot of activity, but just moving around can help.”

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