Canadian Red Cross

Canadian Red Cross

June 02, 2007 09:00 ET

Canadian Red Cross: Launch of Aquatic Partnership to Tackle Childhood Obesity

Campaign promotes aquatic activities as fun way to increase fitness

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 2, 2007) - According to Canada's Physical Activity Guides for Children and Youth, over half of Canadians aged five to 17 are not active enough for optimal growth and development. A report from the Canadian Medical Association Journal points to "an alarming rise in the incidence of child and youth obesity." These results were consistent with studies by the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute who caution that the health of over half of Canadian children and youth is at risk due to high levels of physical inactivity.

To help combat this growing trend, a new partnership is being launched with Red Cross Swim, Swimming Canada, Synchro Canada, Diving Canada and Water Polo Canada. "Healthy habits and behaviours for children and youth need to be fostered from an early age," said Michele Mercier, Red Cross National Manager, Swimming & Water Safety Programs. "Swimming and the variety of aquatic activities available in Canada are great ways for children and youth to learn new skills while having fun, increase their fitness levels and ensure healthy growth and development."

The partnership is being launched at the start of Water Safety Week, which runs from June 2 to 9. The campaign Learn to swim...see where it takes you will promote active lifestyles for children and youth, as well as opportunities for fitness and even competitive swimming - once kids learn how to swim and stay water-safe.

Long-Term Athlete Development guidelines by Canadian Sports Centres also recommend skills developed through swimming as fundamental "for water safety reasons, for balance in a buoyant environment, and as the foundation for all water-based sports."

Red Cross reminds Canadians of the importance of water safety during the summer months. "Learning to swim is important, but learning water safety is the key to preventing an incident form occurring and to knowing how to respond effectively in an emergency situation," explains Mercier. "It's swimming and safety together that saves lives."

Water Safety Week is a national, annual, Red Cross campaign designed to educate Canadians about safe behaviour in, on, and around water. Each year, an average of 400 Canadians drown; more than half of those drownings occur during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Learn more about ways to increase fitness through aquatic activities, tips on water safety and enter to win a summer fun prize pack at

Contact Information

  • Canadian Red Cross
    Media Relations Line