Sun Life Financial has teamed up with Laurier in the fight against obesity and chronic disease, committing $500,000 to launch a community outreach program to improve activity levels and nutrition in youth and their caregivers in an effort to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes.
The Sun Life Financial Centre for Physically Active Communities will offer low-cost or free programming to children and youth who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions. The centre will focus on clients in high-priority neighbourhoods, including low-income, immigrant and First Nations communities.
“Engaging in this partnership with Sun Life to enhance the health and well-being of our communities reinforces the long and positive relationship we have shared for many years,” said Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor Max Blouw. “I am very pleased that we have come together again to contribute to public health in this important and timely project.”
Health-care experts in Laurier’s Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education will work collaboratively with families to change habits and improve physical-activity levels, nutrition and knowledge around diabetes prevention. The centre will offer group and individual support and guidance on nutrition, physical activity and behaviour modification.
The centre will also engage Laurier’s undergraduate and graduate students in delivering physical activity programming and conducting research.
“We want to inspire people in the community to lead healthy, active lifestyles to help prevent chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes,” said Paul Joliat, assistant vice-president, philanthropy and sponsorships with Sun Life Financial.
“The centre gives at-risk children and their caregivers the foundation and knowledge they need to make healthier choices.”
One in three Canadians is currently affected by diabetes or prediabetes. The good news is that in 90 per cent of cases, those impacted by the disease can prevent or delay its onset through healthy eating and exercise.