On May 20th 2010, more than 140 Dalhousie University medical students visited over 60 grade four classrooms in the Halifax Regional Municipality. The medical students taught over 1800 students about the importance of healthy eating and active lifestyles. This tradition continued in 2011.
The initiative, called the Everest Challenge, was started in 2002 and is organized by first and second year Dalhousie University medical students who believe it is important to educate youth about exercise and healthy diet choices. Nova Scotia has some of the highest levels of chronic disease in Canada, often caused by inactivity, poor nutrition and obesity. The medical students prepare a curriculum that is fun and engaging and that encourages a high level of student interaction.
The program likens health education to climbing a mountain: it is challenging, but can be achieved with teamwork and dedication. The long-term goal is to encourage healthy living and subsequently reduce the consequences of inactivity.