Does Thunder Bay need our own Participation Challenge?

The lead group at the start of the 2014 Annual Fire Fighters Ten Mile Road Race.
The lead group at the start of the 2014 Annual Fire Fighters Ten Mile Road Race.

Thunder Bay Fitness or Not?

THUNDER BAY – LIVING – Does Thunder Bay need its own Participation Challenge? Do you remember the first Participation ads on television? In the early 1970’s Canadians were told that the average sixty-year-old Swede was in better shape than the average forty-year-old Canadian.

In Thunder Bay, the Miles with the Giant Marathon has been cancelled. One of the reasons was a lack of local participation.

Our city has some of the highest rates for heart disease, high rates for obesity, and high rates for lung disease.

For many in the city if there were an Olympic Games for smoking and drinking, the City of Thunder Bay might top the medal count.

Our EMS crews spend a lot of time dealing with difficulty breathing calls, and occasionally need to call out Fire Rescue to help lift people into the stretcher.

The Grime News is displayed by Statistics Canada.

It took just over one minute for the 1100 plus runners to pass by.
It took just over one minute for the 1100 plus runners to pass by.

There is lots of good work going on out there to help counter the health concerns. The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is working to reach out and help people stop smoking and to make healthier lifestyle choices.

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is equally focused on helping to make a difference too.

However Stats Canada shows that Thunder Bay is well above the Ontario average for obesity, diabetes, lung cancer, cancer in general, heart disease, high blood pressure, and heavy drinking.

Certainly Thunder Bay has some amazingly fit people. Our city is pound-for-pound one of the biggest producers of hockey players. Thunder Bay is also home to some of the strongest men in Canada.

It is a sharp contrast however to time spent at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Emergency which is often full, and in a hospital that is often in gridlock.

Perhaps a focus for many in our city over the course of 2015 might be improving personal fitness levels, and for our three levels of government to look toward offering opportunities for adults to get into healthier choices.

Would be a great way to make for a better, and healthier Thunder Bay heading into 2015 and beyond.

James Murray