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Fitness program to improve learning comes to Capital Region

Over 85 per cent of children aged 5-11 fail to get the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity. With compelling research about the positive effect exercise has on learning, a group of doctors and other health care professionals in the Capital Region are on a mission to encourage more students to get moving.

BOKS – which stands for Building Our Kids’ Success – originally began in the United States. It was inspired by the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by Dr. John Ratey, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. The book focuses on research which found that exercise improves mental circuits to beat stress, sharpens thinking, and enhances memory in children.

“There is substantial evidence of the health benefits of exercise,” said Dr. Kristin Brown, a family doctor in Oromocto who is involved with the program at Hubbard Avenue Elementary School. “It’s essential for good physical health but it can also significantly improve mental health.”

Involvement in the program is voluntary. Participants meet four mornings a week before school for 45 minutes for a functional fitness session incorporating day-to-day movements and play. There may also be a nutrition component, known as “BOKS Bits.”

“New Brunswick’s doctors have promoted the benefits of exercise for years,” said Dr. Lynn Murphy-Kaulbeck, President of the New Brunswick Medical Society. “We’re pleased to see a new initiative to improve the health of our children.”

More information on BOKS can be found at bokskids.ca.

CONTACT: Aleisha Bosch, New Brunswick Medical Society, (506)462-4633.

Founded in 1867, the New Brunswick Medical Society is the professional association representing all physicians in New Brunswick. Its twin goals are to represent and serve physicians, and advocate for the health of New Brunswickers. Over a hundred New Brunswick doctors sit on our Board and Committees, representing the 1600 doctors in the province.