U of S, Saskatchewan, Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) and Blue Cross announce childhood obesity prevention program MEND expansion in southern Saskatchewan

MEND, a U of S program aimed at fighting childhood obesity is now available in Regina and southern Saskatchewan thanks to support from the Community Initiatives Fund (CFI) and Blue Cross.

MEND, which stands for Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, and Do It, is offered free of charge to Saskatchewan families.

"We want to teach the youth in our province the necessary skills to make healthy choices while providing them with the knowledge they need to continue long after the program ends," said Carol Rodgers, dean of the College of Kinesiology. "Because of MEND, families have been able to experience a significant lifestyle change and continue to be supported with any challenges they might run into."

First launched in 2012 in Saskatoon, MEND then expanded in September 2013 to Prince Albert and other northern communities. The program gives parents and children education on nutrition, portion size, motivation and goal setting, while participating and encouraging physical activity.

"We recognized the need to develop a broad community-based approach that would find a solution to this urgent health issue," said Arnie Arnott, president and CEO of Saskatchewan Blue Cross. "We're very pleased to be the lead partner in creating a breakthrough pathway for young people in Saskatchewan to connect with an obesity prevention program."

More than a quarter of Canadian children aged two to 17 are overweight or obese. In Saskatchewan the problem is even more pronounced with an obesity rate of over 29 per cent.Â

 "Supporting the expansion of MEND to Regina and southern Saskatchewan means that more children, youth and their families will benefit from participation in a program that has demonstrated positive outcomes worldwide," said Tracey Mann, executive director of CIF. "The Community Initiatives Fund supports programming that focuses on education and prevention, and that encourages active, healthy lifestyles."

MEND is an international program with participants and the United Kingdom, Denmark, Australia, the United States and New Zealand.

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For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Thoma

Media relations

University of Saskatchewan

306-966-1851

jennifer.thoma@usask.ca





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