It’s not easy for kids in Nova Scotia to get fit and be healthy.
Canadian guidelines recommend that kids get 60 minutes of physical activity each day just to grow and develop properly. But in Nova Scotia, 60% of kids don’t meet this minimal amount of activity and most spend 65% of their waking time not moving. With more than 42,000 children in the province who are overweight or obese, our kids are facing serious threats to their health.
The consequences are shocking: generations of kids may face shorter lifespans than their parents due to unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles.
There has never been a more important time to help Nova Scotia kids get more active. This is where Kids Run Club (KRC) comes in.
The free, province-wide running program teaches kids the joy of running, and the importance of leading a healthy, active life. Kids Run Club participants learn how to form healthy habits that will become part of their everyday lives as adults.
“Not only does KRC raise the awareness about healthy living among our children, families and community, but it also generates healthy generations through long-term primary prevention of diseases and illness,” says Dr. Walid El-Naggar, a pediatrician who coached a KRC in Halifax.
For 14 years, the program has involved more than 80% of elementary schools in Nova Scotia, reaching more than 17,000 kids in 215 schools last year alone. Kids Run Club is free and accessible to all kids, regardless of their age or ability, where they live or their access to facilities or financial resources.
Organized sports are out of reach for many kids. Data from Statistics Canada notes that Nova Scotia has the highest rate of children living in low-income families in Canada. Over 22% of Nova Scotians under the age of 18 live in low-income households where organized sports and recreation are a luxury that is out of reach.
With KRC, there’s no fancy gear to buy and no expensive fees to pay. Kids can participate in the program whether they live in a big city or a remote community – even if their school doesn’t have a gym.
For example, all seven students in Pleasant Bay Elementary School in Cape Breton participated in KRC last year. The school has only two staff and there’s no gym. They taped lines on the school’s basement floor instead; 222 laps equaling the kids’ 2.1 km goal. The team was so committed to the program that they drove 2.5 hours to Sydney to attend the Doctors Nova Scotia Fiddlers Youth Run!
Aside from a sense of belonging, KRC also helps kids get much-needed physical activity – and even manage stress. “I just love going out for a run after school and being free,” says Owen Kinsman, a student at Springvale Elementary in Halifax. “Just being outside, running, letting everything fall off my shoulders.”
Kids Run Club helps participants improve their fitness, regardless of their starting point. Kirsten Weagle, a first-year medical student at Dalhousie University, helped coach the KRC at Westmount Elementary in Halifax. “It’s was a positive experience that wasn’t focused on being the fastest,” she says. “If kids have a positive experience like that early on, they’re more likely to continue being active.”
Kids Run Club also brings families together in a healthy, positive way, often inspiring parents to make their own lifestyle changes. “We run as a family now,” says Halifax parent Kristin Morrow.
A healthy today creates a healthy future. And you can play a part in it!
With your support, we can give all Nova Scotia children a healthy tomorrow.
If you are passionate about helping our kids experience a healthy tomorrow, please consider showing your support by donating to the program.
Won’t you donate to KRC today? Click here to donate.