Akwesasne Chief to run in Ottawa marathon to fight child obesity
Child obesity is a problem that affects thousands of Canadians, but none more so than Canada’s indigenous youth.
A 2012 report from the National Aboriginal Health Organization says First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Canada have much higher rates of obesity and diseases associated with obesity such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Rates of obesity are even higher for First Nations, Inuit and Métis children compared to the Canadian born non-Aboriginal population of children.
Chief Troy Thompson of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne has been doing his part to break that trend by running in marathons across North America to raise money and fight this prevalent issue.
“I’ve always been a runner,” Thompson said. “I’m trying to inspire the kids and some adults to get out and be more active.”
So far Thompson has raised money by running in the Quebec City Marathon, raising $3,800 in the process. He plans to keep that momentum going by running in Ottawa on May 27.
So far, Thompson has raised $6,000 of his $10,000 goal, but knows that money isn’t the only obstacle when it comes to promoting an active community.
“Life is sometimes difficult. Throw in diabetes, obesity and other health issues due to inactivity and it just gets that much more difficult,” Thompson said.
This will be Thompson’s third year as chief and he hopes to run in at least one marathon a year until the end of his tenure and even beyond.
“The long-term goal is to start a charity or corporation to raise funds to build more infrastructure for outdoor activities in the community,” Thompson said. “A lot of families in the community can’t afford lacrosse or hockey, which is why I want to promote running. It’s free. I want Akwesasne to set the bar for other first nations and non-first nations communities in fitness.”
Thompson is collecting donations through a Gofundme campaign. The Ottawa Marathon takes place May 27 and takes runners on a route throughout the National Capital Region.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.