• By: Eric Murphy

Health Champions Gather at Glashan for ‘Healthy Me Week’ Launch

All photos by Eric Murphy. 

An alligator, a vegetable man, YTV’s Carlos Bustamante and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna met up in Glashan Public School this morning to launch Canada’s fifth Healthy Me Week.

The week is a call for children and parents across Canada to step up their health routine. Participants are encouraged to focus on three essential steps. They’re supposed to ‘get up’ (be more active) ‘fuel up’ (eat nutritious food) and ‘own up’ (get more people, especially family, involved in the project).

Carlos Snap Story
Carlos Bustamante includes Glashan students in his Snapchat story.

“Yes this is only one week,” Glashan principal James Tayler told the gym-full of seventh graders, “but we’re really talking about you developing the skills which we know are as easy as one-two-three.”

Throughout the speech-filled morning, Tayler, McKenna and Bustamante all stood in front of the school to speak, there was even a special message from Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau shown on the projector screen. She said that “my healthy me plan is to spend at least 30 minutes outside with the kids walking in nature every day, and to put some fruits and veggies in our smoothies.”

There was even a short speech from one of Healthy Me Week’s organizers, Mariska Kempers, who ran 250 kilometres across the Sahara Desert in 2011. Kempers is the Director of Build Our Kids’ Success (BOKS), and she emphasized that children should be aiming for 60 minutes of activity every day.

Carlos talking to students
Carlos asks students what their favourite activity is.

McKenna was one of the last to speak, and she emphasized both the joys of exercise and the risks of living an inactive lifestyle.

“The problem is if you’re not active enough, it’s not just how you feel…it’s also that you’re in much greater risk for diseases that are going to impact you for your whole life,” she said. “Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol…these are things we used to only see in adults, now we’re seeing them in kids.”

McKenna also mentioned the $20 million her government is investing in initiatives to prevent these diseases.

“We’re always testing new ideas and scaling up proven approaches to help Canadians, particularly you guys,” she said, gesturing to the gathered students, “to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”

After all the speakers were done, they helped the students get warmed up with some standing jogs and jumping. To their credit, McKenna and both the mascots took part in the warm up, despite the Environment Minister wearing heels and the mascots wearing their massive green suits. The Glashan Gator in particular seemed to be having trouble keeping its head on.

Catherine McKenna warming up
Catherine McKenna warms up with Glashan students and the alligator and vegetable mascots.

You can find out more about Healthy Me Week at healthymeweek.ca. The site also has an ‘action plan’ quiz that’s definitely worth trying if you have trouble getting enough activity or healthy food.