Parliament passes West Vancouver MP's national fitness bill

West Van MP-sponsored bill leads to creation of national health day

Mark your calendar: June 6, 2015 is a day to get off the couch and get active.

The first Saturday of every June will now be known as National Health and Fitness Day after the House of Commons this week unanimously approved a bill sponsored by John Weston, Conservative MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.

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Weston has long championed the creation of an annual day to promote health and fitness in Canada and teamed up with B.C. Conservative Senator Nancy Greene Raine to introduce a bill that would do just that.

Raine, an Olympic gold medal skier and Canada's Female Athlete of the 20th Century, tabled the private members bill in the Senate last December.

Citizens and municipalities across the country are encouraged to mark National Health and Fitness Day with events that promote the use of local health, recreational, sports and fitness facilities.

The newly established day aims to inspire Canadians to become fitter. The bill is also an attempt to curb the growing trend towards sedentary living.

Canada's Public Health Agency recently pegged the cost of health care for cardiovascular problems and diabetes arising from obesity and inactivity at $7 billion.

"We should not be burdening our health care system with the results of unhealthy lifestyles. Education also plays a big role, and quality physical education will be increasingly important to ensure children grow up with the skills needed to enjoy physical activities," Raine states in a press release.

"We always aimed to rally our nation to be the fittest nation on earth, and this is a giant leap in the right direction," Weston said.

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