Ontario integrates kinesiology into healthcare

April 01, 2013
Apr. 1, Toronto, Ont. – Today, the Ontario Kinesiology Association welcomes the establishment of the College of Kinesiologists of Ontario.

“Becoming a regulated health profession has been a priority for the Ontario Kinesiology Association (OKA) for almost a decade,” said Sabrina Francescut, President of the OKA. “This is an important step to more effectively integrating exercise and physical activity into Ontario’s healthcare system.”

“Kinesiologists are an important part of health care services in Ontario,” said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-term Care. “The newly established College of Kinesiologists of Ontario brings greater public accountability to the work they do. Patients can be confident that no matter where they receive care, they are receiving high-quality care from trained professionals.”

Kinesiology is the science of human movement. Kinesiologists are university-trained experts on movement and exercise, applying evidenced-based research to improve function, health and wellness using the principles of biomechanics, anatomy, physiology and psychomotor behaviour.

Ontario is a world leader in kinesiology. The first university degree in kinesiology worldwide was granted at the University of Waterloo in 1970. Ontario is now the first jurisdiction worldwide to regulate kinesiologists as health professionals.

“One of the largest barriers to bringing exercise into the frontline of chronic disease prevention and management has been the lack of professional licensing for kinesiologists,” said Ms. Francescut. “The Ontario Kinesiology Association congratulates the Government of Ontario for recognizing the value kinesiologists can bring to healthcare and for continuing to place Ontario at the forefront of kinesiology worldwide.”

Physical activity and exercise is one of the single most effective means to prevent and manage chronic disease; enhance recovery from injury or illness; reduce pain; and improve the overall health and well-being of Ontarians.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, “Physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of over 25 chronic conditions.”

The creation of the College of Kinesiologists of Ontario sets the stage for the Government of Ontario to increase the role of exercise and movement in the prevention and management of chronic disease, pain and injury, significantly improving patient outcomes while reducing costs to the healthcare system.

The cost of medical treatment and lost productivity for chronic diseases in Ontario such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and lung diseases is estimated at $80 billion annually and that number is climbing.

A properly structured exercise program can significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, and colon cancer. Physical activity enhances mental health, fosters healthy muscles, bones and joints and helps maintain function to preserve and extend independence in older adults.

Exercise can cut in half the risk of dying from a second heart event; be twice as effective in treating type 2 diabetes than standard insulin administration alone; reduce mortality and the risk of recurrent cancer by 50 per cent; and can be an effective treatment for mild depression.

“The job now is to raise awareness among physicians and other healthcare professionals about the opportunity to work with kinesiologists to effectively bring exercise and physical activity into the frontline of chronic disease prevention and management,” Ms. Francescut said. For more information contact: Sabrina Francescut, President, Ontario Kinesiology Association at (905) 567-7194 or visit www.oka.on.ca

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