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Pacific Blue Cross Donates $11,000 to Nanaimo's Paediatric Obesity Clinic

The Pacific Blue Cross Community Connection Health Foundation donated $11,000 this week to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital's Paediatric Obesity Clinic. The clinic is one of the innovative initiatives currently being piloted within the Paediatric Ambulatory Health Clinic at the hospital. This pilot is a collaboration between Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA), Nanaimo Parks Recreation and Culture (NPRC) and Vancouver Island University (VIU). This is the first time a collaborative has tackled the issue of childhood obesity in Nanaimo.

At the hospital, a dietitian and psychologist provide assessment and treatment for children and youth referred for obesity. The funds will be used to contract the services of a fitness instructor, who will supervise a team of volunteer "activity coaches" to work with families on individually tailored exercise and activity goals as part of healthy weight management.

"Children with obesity are at higher risk for experiencing psychological problems, including depression, anxiety and low self-esteem, in addition to the complicating health factors," says Dr. Glynis Marks, psychologist with Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. "Research has shown that in order to address the issue, treatment must include the whole family, focus on lifestyle changes in eating, physical activity and sedentary behaviour and provide support for a minimum of three to six months.

A recent Statistics Canada report found that nearly one-third of young people – 1.6 million youth – were classified as overweight. The study also found that boys aged five to 11 are three times more likely than girls to be overweight. Obesity has been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure and liver disease.

Pacific Blue Cross' Community Connection Health Foundation offers financial assistance to organizations that promote mental health and prevent chronic disease. Funding for the foundation comes from a $6 million endowment from Pacific Blue Cross. Interested organizations can apply through the Pacific Blue Cross website:

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