The following article was originally posted on Conference + Meetings World and was written by Craig Lehto.
When choosing a venue for your next meeting, have you considered a ‘healthy’ one?
It has long been known that physical exercise boosts brain health. With that in mind, it’s little wonder why active meetings that encourage physical activity are becoming part of the landscape to further the knowledge exchange at conferences.
In May 2016, the Vancouver Convention Centre became the first Healthy Venue in North America, certified by the World Obesity Federation. The award acknowledges venues that have taken concrete steps to support healthy eating and physical activity. Healthy venues work in partnership with the World Obesity Federation, looking holistically at the attendee experience, from healthy snacks through to encouraging the use of stairs.
“Situated in the heart of Vancouver, we are proud to be recognised as a healthy venue, since healthy living is fundamental to what makes Vancouver a remarkable destination,” said Craig Lehto, general manager, Vancouver Convention Centre. “We are proud to have partnered with the World Obesity Federation and look forward to continuing to develop our healthy program in the years ahead.”
Beyond simply admiring breathtaking harbour views and its trifecta of mountain, ocean and forest during a meeting at the Vancouver Convention Centre, delegates could be inspired to take advantage of the destination’s healthy lifestyle.
Delegates at a recent international congress were able to do just that. “We chose to hold our International Congress on Obesity at the Vancouver Convention Centre because of the efforts they have made in this area and we have thoroughly enjoyed working on the event with them. It was great they were able to offer us and our delegates a healthy meeting, with hydration stations, a wonderful healthy menu, standing space at the back of session rooms, not to mention the wonderful location on the Vancouver seawall for long lunchtime strolls.” said Chris Trimmer, executive director of the World Obesity Federation.
One of the key factors that contribute to the Vancouver Convention Centre’s Healthy Venue designation is the talent of its culinary team who produces an impressive range of meals for clients as diverse as international congresses, corporate meetings and banquets. With everything from salad dressings and stocks to whole grain bread made in house, guests enjoy delicious, healthy menu items that feature reduced fat, sugar and sodium.
Increasingly, conference organisers are incorporating healthy aspects into their meetings, such as yoga classes, standing meetings or progressive receptions. Some organisers are even engaging the local community in their activities. For example, the World Congress of Diabetes developed a 5-kilometre community run as part of their event at the Vancouver Convention Centre to promote the need for increased physical activity to help prevent diabetes. This free event brought together delegates and locals to enjoy the seawall, the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path that begins at the Convention Centre.
Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980, according to the World Health Organization. There is definitely a role the meetings industry could play to help reverse this global epidemic, and the Vancouver Convention Centre is proud to take a leading role to shape healthier meetings.