Opinion

Find a passion for healthy living

BY MICHELLE STILWELL

I often speak about the benefits of living a healthy and active life. There are many simple things we can do to feel better, live longer and stay happier.

Saturday was B.C. Health and Fitness Day, part of our government’s effort to ensure British Columbians continue to set an example for the rest of Canada.

Our Healthy Families B.C. strategy is the most comprehensive health promotion program in Canada. Working with organizations such as  Participaction, we encourage physical activity and healthy living for all British Columbians.

I’m proud of our province for leading the way, but better health has other important benefits.

Did you know chronic disease is the largest contributor to B.C.’s health-care costs? Or that cardiovascular disease and obesity are some of the highest preventable causes of death?

We need to inspire our youth to make time for physical activity and good health. Simple changes to everyday life – parking a few blocks farther away from your destination or taking the dog for a long walk – will add up and make a big difference in your family’s life.

It’s also important to make physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices fun. Get your friends and family involved in one of the many programs available at your community recreation centre or at a fitness facility in your neighbourhood.

If you’re the outdoorsy type, our province offers no shortage of recreational and fitness opportunities. Summer in B.C. means swimming season and almost all of us live close to a beach or swimming hole.

Take a hike or try kayaking. You never know what activity will turn into a passion.

We are working hard to make the healthier choice the easier choice, and we want to support fellow British Columbians to make healthy choices wherever you live, work, learn or play.

I encourage everyone to incorporate a new healthy habit into their daily routine. Get outside, get moving and keep it going throughout the year.

For help on how to get started, please call the province’s physical activity line toll-free at 1-877-725-1149 or visit www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca for lots of practical information on how to make healthy lifestyle changes. You can also speak with a registered dietitian by calling 811.

Michelle Stilwell is MLA for Parksville-Qualicum and parliamentary secretary for healthy living.

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