A new program aimed at getting school children in New Brunswick to be more physically active will challenge students to have an hour of physical activity a day.
As part of the Premier's Challenge program, Canadian Tire will commit $1 million worth of sports equipment to New Brunswick schools during the next three years.
The program will initially have 20 schools participating, with 10 in each of the anglophone and francophone systems. Based on the results of the program, it will be rolled out provincewide in 2014. The initial schools have not been selected yet.
"These pilot schools will serve as examples as we strive to achieve 60 minutes of quality daily physical activity for all students in the province during the next three years,” Premier David Alward said.
Students will be challenged to have an hour of physical activity before, during or after school every day.
"Helping young people be healthier and more active is a key part of our government's plan to rebuild New Brunswick, and it is a responsibility we all share," said Alward.
The challenge was inspired by Active at School, which is a partnership involving more than 60 of Canada's sport, wellness and health organizations that are trying to combat youth inactivity in Canada.
Canadian Tire chief executive officer Stephen Wetmore lauded the province's effort to try and make New Brunswick children more active.
"We hope their leadership will inspire the other provinces and territories across Canada to take action in the weeks and months to come," said Wetmore.
In the annual report of New Brunswick's Child and Youth Advocate that was released last month, it was noted that 28 per cent of teenagers in the province are overweight or obese. That figure was five per cent higher than the previous year and is the highest in the country.
"What this report reinforced is that we have to continue to invest in our wellness strategy and support schools, communities, workplaces and homes to take action on wellness," said Alward.