About the Program

The First Nations Education Steering Committee and the First Nations Schools Association, with support from the First Nations Health Authority, administer the Circle of Well Being program The mandate of the program is to support BC First Nations schools in educating their students to:

  • Make healthy food choices by including fruits and vegetables in their daily diets, reducing their sugar intake and drinking water,
  • Be physically active,
  • Maintain and improve emotional well-being.

Education research supports the correlation between well-being (healthy living) and school success: academic performance, education behavior and cognitive skills and attitudes.  Research also finds that by investing in the health of students, it contributes to generating healthy communities. The program framework is a flexible model that recognizes the diversity of First Nations schools and communities in BC.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes Fact Sheet

 Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to allow your body to control the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood. Without insulin, sugar builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy that is required to do mental and physical tasks. The cause of type 1 diabetes remains unknown. The current thought is that the pancreas is not able to produce insulin because the body’s immune system disrupts the cells that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar.


Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can’t properly use the insulin that is released (called insulin insensitivity) or does not make enough insulin and as a result, sugar builds up in the blood. High levels of sugar can damage organs, blood vessels and nerves.  About 90 per cent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is preventable. If you make healthy food choices, limit your intake of sugar, saturated fats and salt, be physically active, type 2 diabetes can be prevented.

What happens if you have diabetes, either type 1 or type 2 diabetes?

  • Diabetes complications are associated with premature death. It is estimated that one of ten deaths in Canadian adults was attributable to diabetes.
  • People with diabetes are over three times more likely to be hospitalized with cardiovascular disease, 12 times more likely to be hospitalized with end-stage renal disease and over 20 times more likely to be hospitalized for a non-traumatic lower limb amputation compared to the general population.
  • Thirty per cent of people with diabetes have clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
  • Diabetes rates are 3-5 times higher in First Nations, a situation compounded by barriers to care for Aboriginal people.

Lifestyle choices that reduces the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes include:

  • Exercise: Physical activity has many benefits—one of them being that it can help you avoid type 2 diabetes.
  • Healthy meal choices:A meal plan composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and protein foods as part of your daily meals and snacks decreases the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. It is also important to limit added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium in your drinks and foods.
  • Exercise and healthy meal choices helps maintain a healthy weight that reduces your chances of acquiring diabetes.


November Challenge!

Each month there be a Circle of Well Being school-based activity/lesson. All FNSA schools can participate. 


STUDENT NAME ________________________________________________  Grade ______________________


SCHOOL ______________________________________________________

When Mr. Wong’s children were going to elementary school, here is the typical lunch he prepared for his daughter Leilan to take to school.

For snack time; granola bar (Nature Valley Nuts N Honey Crunchy bars 46 g) and pure apple juice box 200ml.

For recess; fruit cup (Del Monte Orchard Peach 112.5 g)

For lunch; peanut butter and jam sandwich (2 slices whole wheat bread, Kraft peanut butter with honey, strawberry jam 30 g each), yogurt (Activia 100g) and pure apple juice box 200ml.

For after school; one Kraft Handisnack, Cheese’n Breadsticks 29g.

When deciding what foods to eat, it is a good idea when possible to read the food labels to see how much sugar is contained in the food we are about to eat. This way we can have control over our sugar consumption.

Help Mr. Wong find out how much sugar there is in the lunch he packs for his daughter Leilan.


  1. How many grams of sugar are in each of the items in Leilan’s lunch kit?


Nature Valley Nuts N Honey Crunchy bars 46 g –

2 apple juice boxes 200ml –

Del Monte Orchard Peach 112.5 g –

2 slices whole wheat bread, Kraft peanut butter with honey, strawberry jam 30 g each –

Kraft Handisnack, Cheese’n Breadsticks 29g –

*You can substitute the above items with similar products that are more readily available in your community.


  1. How many sugar cubes are contained in the lunch described above or similar lunch? (one sugar cube is equal to 4 grams of sugar)


  1. Can you suggest other food items Mr. Wong might put in Leilan’s lunch kit that will reduce the amount of sugar she eats? (Think about traditional foods or foods available locally.)
Email your completed What’s for Lunch worksheet to ericw@fnesc.ca. Deadline for sending me worksheets is Friday November 30. Each worksheet will be entered into a raffle where the first 50 names selected will win a FNSA insulated lunch bag.  Winners’ names will be drawn and announced on December 3, 2018. Call me at (604) 873-4095 or email me if you have any questions.

Eric Wong, Coordinator FNSA Circle of Well Being           ericw@fnesc.ca  (604) 873-4095


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