Acceleration program aims to help staff with health behaviors and prevent chronic disease

Friday, February 13, 2015 - 3:08pm

By Brooke Stephen

How much exercise is enough? How can we motivate ourselves to maintain healthy habits every day?

These are questions that the Hearts in Motion Research Team is helping staff members answer, through an initiative called Acceleration. Acceleration is a free 12-week program focused on exercise and behaviour change. It aims to improve habits and prevent chronic illness such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

“The workplace is a good place to focus on prevention because it can come back to benefit the population we serve,” says Wanda Firth,  research manager for Acceleration and program lead for Community Cardiovascular Hearts in Motion and Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Health in Motion.

Funded by Health Canada, through the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Acceleration is offered to any employee who identifies with one of four criteria: smoking, having fewer than 150 minutes of exercise per week, eating fewer than five fruits and vegetables per day and/or drinking alcohol beyond moderation. Participants must also have one of the following: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of cancer or heart disease.

 “Acceleration is about focusing on changing behaviours in time to prevent some of these significant chronic diseases,” Firth explains.

The Acceleration team is made up of a registered nurse, dietitian and physiotherapist who ensure that each participant receives one-on-one attention and personalized advice. The program is currently open to 12 to 14 people per session, running at 2 program sites (Dickson Building, VG site, QEII and Mumford Professional Centre) and will be expanding to include 32 people in March, and another 30 in April.  Firth hopes to enrol 600 people over the next two years. There will also be an online version of the program starting this spring through the Acceleration Patient Education Platform.

If you are interested in enrolling in the Acceleration program, please call (902) 473-3744. 

All starff are invited to attend “Chop & Taste”, an event that will provide more information about the Acceleration program. There will also be a cooking demonstration, an opportunity to taste healthy recipes and lots of healthy eating tops.  This session is on Tuesday, Feb. 24 from noon-12:45 p.m. at the Royal Bank Theatre, HI site. QEII.  Call (902) 473-3744 or e-mail