Staying in shape often seems like a pursuit only available to those who can afford the gym membership, the running shoes, and the fancy workout clothes. Indeed, research shows that general fitness and participation in exercise programs increases with income.
“Poverty is a more reliable predictor of poor health and chronic disease than factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking,” says Mary Clark, Active Living Coordinator at Vancouver Coastal Health, adding that the chronic stress and social exclusion people on low incomes experience are two likely culprits for their ill health. Recreation counters both, she says.
A new program run in conjunction with a Vancouver food bank, the YWCA, and VCH’s Pacific Spirit wants to change that. 50 low income women each got pedometers, and they were off to the races!