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Archived - Government of Canada partners to expand the Healthy Weights Initiative of Moose Jaw

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Innovative program will help 1,000 residents of Moose Jaw get healthier and reduce their risks for chronic disease

July 23, 2015 - Moose Jaw, SK - Public Health Agency of Canada

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, announces the expansion of a robust community-based program that will help residents of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, to tackle obesity, achieve healthy weights and get healthier.

The Healthy Weights Initiative of Moose Jaw (HWI) will provide free supervised physical activity, dietary education and group cognitive behaviour therapy to 1,000 adults in Moose Jaw. The program's multi-faceted approach provides participants with tools and knowledge for long-term success.

Eligible participants must have a doctor's referral and a body mass index greater than 30. Each participant will get 60 free group exercise sessions, 12 dietary sessions, 12 cognitive behaviour therapy sessions and two fitness tests over a 12-week period, followed by one group exercise session per week for an additional 12 weeks. A privately-funded pilot run of this program was offered to residents of Moose Jaw in 2014 with positive results including weight loss, improved blood pressure and fitness levels.

The Public Health Agency of Canada, Alliance Wellness and Rehabilitation, YMCA of Moose Jaw and the University of Saskatchewan are jointly investing more than $1 million in this initiative over 3 years.

Quick Facts

  • Multi-sectoral Partnerships to Promote Healthy Living and Prevent Chronic Disease invests approximately $20 million each year to address the risk factors that underlie chronic diseases and childhood obesity, in particular, physical inactivity.

  • In February 2014 the Government of Canada launched The Play Exchange, a national challenge to seek out innovative ideas to promote healthier, active living.

  • The Government of Canada recently consulted with Canadians on ways to improve nutritional information on food labels.

  • The children's fitness tax credit, which was doubled this year, helps young Canadians get involved in sport and physical activity.

  • Since 2006, the Government has invested more than $200 million in obesity-related research.


"The Healthy Weights Initiative of Moose Jaw has proven its success in helping individuals achieve healthy weights and we are proud to be working with Alliance Wellness and Rehabilitation and the YMCA to expand this project. Solving obesity issues requires collective support and effort and we must continue to work together and step-up our efforts to help improve the health of all Canadians."

Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"Our Government is proud to invest in programs that support the health of Canadians. The Healthy Weights Initiative of Moose Jaw's innovative approach combines physical activity with education and social support - critical elements for success in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We are pleased to partner with Alliance Wellness and Rehabilitation, the YMCA of Moose Jaw and the University of Saskatchewan to continue to expand this program in Moose Jaw."

Tom Lukiwski
Member of Parliament, Regina - Lumsden - Lake Centre

"The Healthy Weights Initiative is changing lives. A concern in the past however was that we had many more referrals than capacity. With the funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada, we can double the amount of clients that we can assist. As such, we are extremely thankful for external funding to benefit our community and its residents."

Dr. Mark Lemstra
President, Alliance Wellness and Rehabilitation

"The YMCA of Moose Jaw views this funding for the Healthy Weights program as a tremendous opportunity to reach even more members of our community with our message about the importance of active, healthy living. We are very grateful for the ongoing support of Minister Ambrose and the federal government in addressing one of the most pressing social issues of our time - the health and well-being of Canadians."

Jeff Fox
Chief Executive Officer, YMCA of Moose Jaw


Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Public Health Agency of Canada
Media Relations
(613) 957-2983

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