ParticipACTION is a national non-profit organization, originally launched as a Canadian government program in the 1970s, to promote healthy living and physical fitness. It shut down due to financial cutbacks in 2001, but was revived on February 19, 2007 with a grant of $5 million from the Canadian federal government.
ParticipACTION emerged from Sport Participation Canada, a non-profit private company formed on July 12, 1971. Lester B. Pearson chaired the board while Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien served as president. In 1972, the company was nationalized by then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau to battle exorbitant health care costs. The resulting government program was renamed ParticipACTION.
ParticipACTION is well known for its television public service announcements and segments such as Body Break during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. A 1973 commercial, comparing the health of a 30-year-old Canadian to a 60-year-old Swede, started a national discussion on the state of physical education in Canada.
Body Break is a series of 90-second television programs dedicated to informing television audiences of ways to "keep fit and have fun". Funded in part by ParticipACTION for only 2 years, the programs are hosted by Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod and air regularly on Canadian television. The programs are designed to briefly introduce tips for healthy living to a television audience.
Both Hal and Joanne are accomplished athletes with backgrounds in sports medicine and nutrition. Johnson, a native of Toronto, Ontario, was an all-star baseball player while he attended the University of Colorado on athletic scholarship, and was among his team leaders in the Big 8 conference in home runs, RBIs, and batting average. He finished his business degree.
In 1992, a Body Break fitness video was released through Quality Music & Video. It was a smash, selling about 30,000 copies.
The two hosts of Body Break married in 1999, having kept their relationship secret from the public for several years.
The couple participated in the first Amazing Race Canada, being eliminated in the fifth leg.
- "$5M to bring back ParticipACTION exercise program". CBC News. 19 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-19.
- "Canada's New Government Re-Launches ParticipACTION". Government of Canada. 19 February 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-03-23. Retrieved 2007-02-19.
- Body Break Couple's Marriage Secret