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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 20, Number 2, October 2007

Healthy Buddies program may get chopped

One of the most successful and highly lauded education projects in BC and possibly in Canada, may die on the vine because of lack of government interest and funding. It’s the Healthy Buddies project that gets older elementary students (Grades 4–7) to "buddy-teach" the younger children about healthy living. It has received high marks, especially from those desperate to deal with the growing childhood obesity crisis. According to The Vancouver Sun, it has been endorsed by several prestigious institutions—UNESCO, the World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics journal.

The project, which blends three themes--nutrition, physical fitness, and positive body images started out as a pilot project with collaboration between Sechelt Elementary School and Children’s Hospital. It has expanded to 45 schools in the past two years. But, despite a study funded by Sick Kids Foundation of Toronto, showing a lower BMI (Body Mass Index—a measure for obesity) and lower blood pressure in participants, the Campbell government is apparently set to abandon the project just as it takes off in Ontario and Quebec.

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