University of Saskatchewan MEND childhood obesity prevention program expands to Moose Jaw

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The MEND program aims to help prevent childhood obesity  by providing  exercise and nutrition programs to  children at no cost

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) launched its Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It (MEND) program in Moose Jaw in October, providing a fun exercise and nutrition program to local children at no cost. The program is aimed at children who are above healthy weights, and inspires them to change the behaviours that can contribute to obesity.

MEND is an internationally recognized obesity-prevention program with participants in the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Australia, the United States and New Zealand. In 2012, the University of Saskatchewan launched its first MEND program for children in Saskatoon, with the support of the Saskatchewan Blue Cross and Community Initiatives Fund. It has since expanded to other communities in the province, including Prince Albert and Regina. To date, 484 children and parents have participated in the Saskatchewan program.

MEND will now be available to children and families in Moose Jaw thanks to a new local partner, the Moose Jaw YMCA.

“The MEND programs fit with our goal of building healthy communities,” said Jeff Fox, CEO of Moose Jaw YMCA. “It’s about educating and empowering children, youth and families to lead healthier lives.”

Linda Martin, director of operations for MEND Saskatchewan, is pleased with the expansion. “At MEND, we aspire to improve the health of children and families and bring this life-changing program to as many communities in Saskatchewan as possible,” she said.

The MEND program educates parents and children about nutrition, portion size, motivation and goal setting, and provides opportunities for them to participate in physical activity to inspire healthy lifestyle changes and avoid or reverse obesity. Currently, almost one-third of Canadian children aged five to 17 are overweight or obese, according to Statistics Canada.

“MEND was brought to Saskatchewan to help fight the rise of childhood obesity and we continue to be excited by the opportunity to partner with a range of donors and sponsors to expand MEND throughout our province.” said Carol Rodgers, dean of the College of Kinesiology, and the U of S lead on the provincial program.

Two programs will be offered for Moose Jaw children and youth this fall, one for children ages two to four years, and another for youth ages seven to 13 years. The program for two-to-four year- olds is being offered at the YMCA Cubiak Early Years Family Resource Centre; the program for older children is being offered at the downtown YMCA. Late registration for the autumn program will end October 24. A second session will start in January.

For program information or to register, please call 1-844-899-MEND (6363), visit the website kinesiology.usask.ca/mend-sk.php or contact Andrea Fahlman, MEND southern Saskatchewan regional program manager, at andrea.fahlman@usask.ca.

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For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Thoma

Media relations

University of Saskatchewan

306-966-1851

jennifer.thoma@usask.ca