Hearts-in-Training raises health awareness for First Nations

SportMedBC and the Healthy Heart Society have been traveling all over the province to provide Hearts-in-Training – a heart health testing and education program, to a number of First Nations communities.

With funding provided by the First Nations Health Council and the Honour Your Health Challenge (HYHC) Program, participants in the 2009 HYHC Sun Run InTraining Program had the option to participate in the Hearts-in-Training assessment.

From Vancouver and Victoria to Chilliwack, Penticton, Kamloops, Lillooet, Moricetown, Hazelton, Prince George, Campbell River and Courtenay, participants have been assessed for their blood sugar, cholesterol, height, weight, waist girth and cardiovascular risk.

440 participants were tested prior to completing SportMedBC’s 13 week Sun Run InTraining Program, and are now preparing for their post-assessment – hoping for improvements in all areas.

The program has focused on diabetes, smoking cessation and waist-girth reduction, as these are some of the leading causes of ill-health in the First Nations communities.

Dr Darren Warburton of the Cardiovascular Physiology and Rehabilitation Laboratory at the University of British Columbia will be analyzing the results of the program.

SportMedBC and the Healthy Heart Society have been training local nurses and community members to assist with the Hearts-in-Training testing, and to enable them to conduct their own testing in the future.

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