Tackling the physical inactivity pandemic through research and running

Researcher exemplifies the importance of physical fitness for a bright mind and healthy body.

The 2014 Vancouver Sun Run marked Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) researcher Christine Voss’s third time participating in the annual race. This year's VCHRI-sponsored Sun Run team included 22 dedicated researchers and trainees who helped the group achieve fifth place in the medical/dental/health category.

As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility (CHHM), Voss is the scientific lead on school-based projects that investigate the interplay between travel to school, the built environment, and health in children and youth. Under the mentorship of Drs. Heather McKay and Meghan Winters, Voss’s research is driven by the overarching aim to tackle the physical inactivity pandemic, evident in the fact that fewer than one in 10 young Canadians are currently active enough to achieve health benefits. Prior to joining the CHHM, she worked for a year part-time as a lecturer at London Met University and part-time as a research assistant at the University of Essex.

Q: Why have you chosen to participate in the Sun Run this year?
The Sun Run is a fantastic community event: I am a big fan of the atmosphere in the city on race day and love being part of the VCHRI team.

Q: What physical or mental training do you go through to do the Sun Run?
None. The Sun Run is my annual barometer to see if I do enough physical activity year around to stay in shape.

Q: How do you stay active?
I’m regularly active and play soccer, do yoga, and I make active choices in every day activities, such as biking to work, taking the stairs and breaking up my sitting time regularly.

Q: Who do you feel are more active: Vancouverites or Londoners?
Vancouverites are way more active than anywhere I lived in the UK (especially London)!!!

Q: Where does your focus on physical activity come from and what are your research goals?
I am an exercise physiologist by training and obtained my PhD in 2010 from the University of Essex, UK, where I investigated health behaviours – including active travel to school – and health outcomes in English youth. With current fellowships from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, I endeavour to better understand the connection between physical fitness and children’s daily commutes and how they interact with the environment around them.

Q: What’s your healthiest habit?
I don’t own a car.

Congratulations VCHRI Sun Run Team!


“For the VCHRI community specifically, this is an excellent team building experience that allows us to come together from distant workplaces for the common goals of fun and fitness,” says Pesarchuk, PhD candidate working under Dr. Vince Duronio at the UBC Department of Medicine, Experimental Medicine Program. “Since I started captaining the team three years ago we have more than doubled the number of people on the roster and risen 12 spots in the rankings. I know everyone will push themselves even harder next year to continue this ascent.”


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