Centre’s fight against obesity honoured

CORE helps educate public about obesity and diabetes

Director of CORE Robert Ross (above) says, “obesity is prevalent to all ages and all ethnicities.”
Director of CORE Robert Ross (above) says, “obesity is prevalent to all ages and all ethnicities.”
Journal File Photo

Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) honoured the Queen’s Centre for Obesity Research and Education (CORE) with its Partnership award for its work in the Kingston community.

“Kingston is not immune to obesity. Obesity is prevalent to all ages and all ethnicities. Diabetes is a major health risk brought about by obesity,” CORE Director Robert Ross said. Ross said the CORE functions as a research facility and strives to educate the public about the health risks associated with obesity.

“Other than smoking, obesity is a huge risk of death,” Ross said.

CORE’s efforts in the Kingston community included its June 2009 Exercise is Medicine symposium.

“The Exercise Symposium is a good example of CORE’s efforts in the Kingston community,” he said.

During this event, 450 health professionals gathered in the Biosciences Complex to discuss obesity-related issues. These professionals included registered nurses, nurse practioners, family physicians and dieticians.

It was efforts such as these that Ross said helped CORE receive the Partnership Award.

CORE was created four years ago as a vehicle to bring together researchers from all different fields of medicine to benefit from obesity research, he said.

“Every single area of medicine is affected by obesity research,” Ross said, adding that CORE aims to educate others to help reduce obesity.

“Obesity is not behavioral, it is an outcome,” he said.

While it is impossible to completely prevent obesity, education lets people make responsible choices about consumption, exercise and lifestyle to minimize the problem, he said.

“Obesity is a complex, multi-dimensional problem,” he said, adding that it therefore requires a multi-dimensional solution.

“CDA knows the community and brings perspectives from the grassroots up,” he said.

CORE’s relationship with the CDA is based on what Ross calls synergy. This synergy with the CDA allows CORE to most effectively educate the public about the health risks of obesity and contributed to CORE winning the CDA’s Partnership Award in June 2009.

He said that in terms of minimizing obesity, communities have a long way to go, but organizations such as CDA and CORE working together is the first step.

“CORE is privileged to have the Canadian Diabetes Association as one of its partners,” CORE manager Jennifer Tomasone told the Journal in an e-mail, adding that the CDA plays a role in helping CORE disseminate information and resources to the community.

“We have a similar mission: to be an education and information resource and to raise public awareness about obesity and diabetes.”

Tomasone said that the Exercise is Medicine Symposium provided health care professionals with information to assist with the implementation of physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle, which can help delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

“It would be ideal to host such an event every year, but due to limited funding and the current financial situation, CORE will not be able to host an event of this scale in the near future,” said Tomasone.

The CDA was founded in 1953 and provides support to Canadians living with diabetes. Its Partnership Award is given to individuals or groups whose efforts have contributed to CDA’s mission and had a significant impact on those with diabetes.

“Physical activity is beneficial for all people, not just people with Type 2 diabetes,” Tomasone said.

“If one person in the community becomes active as a result of what they learned at a CORE event, then CORE has succeeded.”

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