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National Health and Fitness Day 2019

Excerpt from Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Senators’ Statements

National Health and Fitness Day

Hon. Marty Deacon: Honourable senators, in our continued work of healthy nation building and celebrating the power of sport, today I want to remind you of the work we must continue to do together to make Canada the most active, healthy nation on earth.

This coming Saturday, communities across the country will celebrate National Health and Fitness Day. This is a day when Canadians are encouraged to get up, get out and get active. As with every year, I’m asking parliamentarians to go back to their communities and encourage them to proclaim June 1 as National Health and Fitness Day.

Over the past year, I have enjoyed meeting with you one-on-one to share how we use these events as a platform for healthy change. Thank you for your support of Ski Day, Swim Day and Bike Day on the Hill. Thank you to the senators living in the Toronto area who have signed a letter together demonstrating your wish to have Mayor John Tory proclaim June 1 as National Health and Fitness Day in Toronto.
And to other senators who were integral in getting their communities to proclaim as well. A special shout out to Senator Forest, who is sitting in the Finance Committee, who was integral in having 31 cities in Quebec proclaim the day. Thank you to Senator Duncan who has brought National Health and Fitness Day to the North.

This past weekend in Ottawa, the city demonstrated what building around activity can mean for a community. Over 32,000 people crossed the start line for walks, runs and marathons during the Ottawa Race Weekend. Beyond the participants, countless volunteers lined the route. Eleven live bands, which I loved, and thousands of families came together to cheer on their friends and loved ones. The fun will continue in a few days as the city is in full gear for National Health and Fitness Day this Saturday.

Colleagues, we need more events like this because the fact is we are facing a physical activity crisis in this country. The recommended baseline for physical activity in a week is just 150 minutes, yet only one third of Canadian youth are hitting this target. For adults the number is a paltry one fifth. One statistic I saw shows that we’re less active today than we were in 1981. Think about this.

We will pay the price for this individually as our physical and mental health deteriorates. We literally pay the price for this as a society when these unhealthy habits further burden our health care system down the line.

I encourage you to think about this because it keeps me awake at night. Looking and feeling healthy is critical to our optimal functioning, our mental health, daily outlook and our performance. As senators, we all need to put ourselves first.
As leaders at the federal level and in our communities, we need to use our influence to remind people of this. It must be our highest priority. Once again, I encourage all of you to get out and get active this Saturday in support of both National Health and Fitness Day and your own well-being. Thank you.

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