It’s no secret that child obesity is on the rise. In Canada, over 26 per cent of minors are either overweight or obese—that’s 1.6 million children and adolescents. Although genetics may play a part in some of these cases, lack of physical exercise and the consumption of fatty and sugary foods are more often to blame.

McGill medical students Anthony Albina and Adam Daniel Parent see combating obesity in children as a community effort. They’ve founded the not-for-profit Vitamin Sport to provide a fun, safe and accessible sports environment to elementary-aged students regardless of socioeconomic status, gender or ability.

Vitamin Sport is powered by 12 first- and second-year McGill medical students with a special interest in physical activity and preventative medicine. This year, they’ve partnered with the after-school sports program at Willingdon Elementary in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood, where they lead weekly fitness activities to keep students active. The program also has an educational component—biweekly nutritional workshops cover balanced breakfasts, appropriate food portions and how to properly follow the Canada Food Guide.

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April 8, 2013