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The Final Chapter of an Amazing Story!

Over the past few weeks we have had the opportunity to vicariously experience Expedition India through the eyes of the Youth Ambassadors (Videos + Photos). Not only did they run 270km through the Thar Desert, but they also explored nearby communities to learn about World Health issues. Although the i2P team is now back home, they leave us with an amazing resource of Education & Inspiration. This is where the magic happens! By combining Education & Inspiration we get Empowerment, where youth from around the globe come together to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Participating classrooms & students are now challenged to come up with their own creative Solutions to the World Health Challenges presented in Expedition India. This is truly the most incredible part about i2P Expeditions, EMPOWERING YOUTH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

From Hamilton, MI to i2P India: Don't Stop Believing! from GOi2P on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for additional updates, but in the meantime check out Themes & Modules and Extraordinary Acts for more info!

More Q&A from the Youth Ambassadors

We welcome questions concerning our i2P Expedition to India 2011 from everyone! Below are some of the latest answers provided by the Youth Ambassadors.

Question Answer
What does this expedition do to your bodies? How do you feel after the running?

Natalie Hampton,
Mirman School

Emma Cook-Clarke:
It takes a toll on the body and eventually everything aches and hurts but you keep pushing.

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
How hot is it?

kaitlyn,
Trailblazer Elemetray School

Youth Ambassadors:
35 degrees Celsius.

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
How do people in India go to the doctor?

Advisory 111,
Symmes Junior High

Harshveer Singh Saluja:
They have a choice of going to a private or public hospital in cities or towns but in villages they mostly go to public hospitals. You should check out our educational video on this topic!

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
What kind of animals have you seen so far on your trek?

Aaron Black,
American Academy Charter School

Youth Ambassadors:
Cows, camels, sheep, goats, ox, peacocks, deer, antelope, snakes and dogs.

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
What kind of obstacles have you encountered on the journey so far?

Sutter,
American Academy

Youth Ambassadors:
injuries are a big obstacle. The support team is always there!

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
How do you get and transport supplies?

Owen,
American Academy

Patrick Doughty:
We have 5 support vehicles plus a big truck that carries much of the supplies.

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
What is the most dangerous animal you have seen?

Kate, Owen, Audrey,
American Academy

Harshveer Singh Saluja:
Poisonous snakes and a buffalo that chased Jessica!

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
What was your motivation for this expedition? Why?

Alayna,
American Academy

Harshveer Singh Saluja:
To see how far I could go and experience the limits of mental and physical ability.

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
What types of food are you eating? I know that good nutrition is important since you are running.

Peyton,
American Academy

Emma Cook-Clarke:
Mostly Indian food which is amazing.

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
How many gallons/liters dose the team have to drink per day

Aiden,
American Academy

Emma Cook-Clarke:
We have to drink about 14 liters per day.

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
How are the kids you see in India the same and/or different from the kids in North America?

Abby W.,
American Academy

Emma Cook-Clarke:
Most of the kids we've seen have a lot less than in North America but this does not mean that they are not happy.

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
How does it feel to be apart of some thing that will help some many people?

Arianna,
American Academy

Jessica Kenny:
It feels amazing.

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
How do you feel adapting to Indian culture. Do you miss home?

Abbitt,
American Academy

Emma Cook-Clarke:
It is really cool to be able to experience such a different culture but there are things that I miss.

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
If you get hurt, what happens? Are there any fears of infections from cuts or blisters?

Kyle,
St. Anne, Hanmer ON

Harshveer Singh Saluja:
No. we have Ray to treat our blisters and a doctor to treat our cuts.

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
How do you keep yourself clean, in order to stay healthy?

Fallon,
St. Anne, Hanmer ON

Youth Ambassadors:
We use baby wipes and hand sanitizer!!! Lots of it!!!!

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
How long are your breaks? How long do you run before taking a break?

Amy,
St. Anne, Hanmer ON

Emma Cook-Clarke:
Our breaks are under 5 minutes which we take every 45 minutes of running plus a 2 hr. lunch break.

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011
Which areas have you run through so far? Urban or rural? Have you noticed what kind of games the kids play? Do they stay fit for fun, or is it for work?

Olivia,
St. Anne, Hanmer ON

Harshveer Singh Saluja:
We have run through mostly rural.

Answered on: Sunday December 4 2011

Check out the Q&A section to view more or to submit your own questions!

Science of the Run: Nutrition and Health

The issue of nutrition is a critical factor for world health. This applies to both malnutrition, which can be not getting enough calories or nutrients, as well as over nutrition which means getting too many calories. Health is closely related to nutrition, and people can become extremely ill at both extremes - for example people can develop type 2 diabetes with high sugar intakes and obesity as a result of consuming too many calories. Let's consider Type 2 diabetes as an example.

Science of the Run - Nutrition Energy & Health from GOi2P on Vimeo.

In Type II diabetes, insulin production is relatively normal, but the receptor cells become desensitized to insulin. As a result the target cells such as muscle or liver do not absorb glucose from the blood. This type of diabetes is associated with obesity, and closely related to lifestyle factors such as poor nutrition and lack of exercise. As for so many other chronic diseases exercise can be used as therapy for both types of diabetes, which can be done under the supervision of a physician. Because exercise mimics the effects of insulin on blood glucose levels, and facilitates glucose uptake into the cells, it can help reduce the amount of insulin needed by Type I diabetics. For type II diabetics, exercise can increase insulin sensitivity of the muscle tissue, thereby to some extent reversing the effects of the disease.

On one of our runs I tested blood lactate levels of the runners. Lactate is produced when our body burns sugars to provide muscles with energy very quickly. When the runners were moving at a comfortable pace - their heart rates were about 125-130 - their blood lactates were between 1.6 -3.0 mmol/L. That suggests that they were not working hard enough to burn any sugars, relying mostly on their fat stores and just a bit of sugar to fuel their muscles. Although the Youth Ambassadors were doing a long 30+ km run in the heat and sun I asked them to do a short sprint up a hill. Because the energy demands were so much higher on the short sprint and they had to also move uphill their muscles needed fuel more quickly. When the energy demands increase inside our bodies we burn sugars to temporarily meet those demands, and the byproduct of anaerobic sugar metabolism is lactic acid. The blood lactate levels at the end of the sprint were 4.9-12.2 mmol/L. Levels that high make your muscles feel like they are on fire and also makes you breathe very hard.

In addition to exercise, nutrition is a key factor in developing and maintaining health. However, there are tremendous challenges with regard to having people eat foods that are high in nutrients and lower in calories. For example, we visited a small town in northern India yesterday. In this town we found a few stores, and in one stall a vendor was selling vegetables - foods that are key to the prevention of chronic disease and for improving health. But in the next store highly processed foods were readily available. These included chips and candy bars - foods that are very high in calories and have minimal nutrients. Here are pictures of each store.


Before setting out on day 2, I posed a challenge to the Youth Ambassadors. I asked them to consider that given many people in developed countries such as Canada and the US are aware of what foods are healthier options, why so many individuals make poor decisions related to nutrition and health. We had a heated discussion over dinner, but we came to the conclusion that cost and convenience were major factors. If you have other ideas please send them to us on twitter @GOi2P or on the Q&A tab.

For the schools that are following, an interesting activity is to take a look at the number of calories in different foods like fruits such as bananas or oranges, vegetables such as carrots or broccoli, or more refined foods like a slice of bread or a soft drink. When we measured youth Ambassador Harshveer's caloric expenditure on the run recently we we found out that he burned over 2000 calories during the time we tested him. How many vegetables would he have to eat to replace those calories? How many chocolate bars would it take?

Ultimately the challenge for each of us around the world is to find the right balance between the foods that we eat to fuel our activities or that provide us with the nutrients we need to be healthy and staying physically active. Can you think of some barriers for you related to how well you eat on a daily basis? How can you increase your nutrient intake for example fruits and vegetables? What does it mean to have the right balance between exercise and nutrition for you?

Science of the Run: Physical Activity and Health

The cardiovascular system (the heart and blood vessels) responds to exercise like walking or running and habitual physical activities like housework or gardening. One only has to read the many stories of people who have come back from severe heart attacks and poor health to be marathon runners (like Ray Zahab!), century cyclists or triathletes to realize how much the body can change in response to consistent exercise.

Science of the Run - Physical Activity & Health from GOi2P on Vimeo.

Performing cardiovascular training has powerful effects on many systems in the body. From the lungs to the blood to the heart and right out to the muscles, the body adapts and improves itself to be able to handle the demands of exercise. The amazing thing is that not only does the body build itself up to handle exercise, but all the adaptations and changes help the body resist disease, and research has clearly shown that cardiovascular exercise reduces the incidence of diabetes, heart disease, cancers and many other diseases. The Youth Ambassadors have been running for hours every day across the Thar desert. On day 2 we measured Harshveer's heart rate as he ran. You can see the wide range of heart rates that we measured in the GPS / heart rate graphic below.

The heart contracts in a constant rhythm that may speed up or slow down depending on the need for blood (and oxygen) in the body. For example, if you start running, your leg muscles will need more oxygen to do the work of running. Therefore your heart will have to pump more oxygen-carrying blood to those working muscles and will have to beat more rapidly in order to supply that blood.

Heart rate is the term used to describe the number of times that the heart beats in one minute and is measured in beats per minute (b/m). At rest, the normal heart rate of an adult can range from 40 b/m in a highly trained athlete to 70 b/m in a normal person. Recent research has shown that your resting heart rate is associated with your lifespan - so if you have a high resting heart rate you are more likely to be affected by a chronic disease and have a shorter life. People with low resting heart rates have healthy cardiovascular systems, and lower nervous system stress, and are more likely to live longer. Check out your resting heart rate first thing in the morning when you wake up, or even when you are sitting relaxing.

Increasing physical activity is a key factor for helping to reduce the rick of non-communicable diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer. Our bodies are designed to move, and even as little as 10 minutes of physical activity and exercise can burn a significant number of calories if you add that to your life on a daily basis.

The key message that I took away from my time here is how willing children here in India are to do physical activity if they have the right information and help to get started. That is the challenge that I'll pose to everyone who is following the expedition online. How can you increase your physical activity during your day? If you have ideas send them to us on the Q&A tab or via twitter @GOi2P.

Report from India - Non-Communicable Disease

On the Science of the Run page Iíll be reporting on the relationship between exercise, physical activity, nutrition and overall health during the India 2011 Expedition. We will have a specific focus on the impact of physical activity and nutrition on non-communicable diseases such as obesity, Type II diabetes and cancer.

On day 1 of the expedition, we introduced the Youth Ambassadors to the concept of non-communicable disease. For example, we went over the 2002 report from the World Health Organization (WHO) that showed that almost 50% of the global burden of disease is now related to non-communicable diseases. This is a huge change, in that traditionally the major health challenges around the world were from infectious diseases such as malaria or tuberculosis.

The main risk factors for non-communicable disease are a lack of physical activity and poor diet. And interestingly the incidences of non-communicable diseases are increasing rapidly in the developed world (North America and Europe for example), as well as in the developing world in countries like India and China. This presents a challenge, but also an opportunity. The challenge is as a result of the lack of physical activity in peopleís lives, and also as a result of poor nutrition. The opportunity lies in our ability to increase physical activity levels and improve nutrition around the world.


i2P Youth Ambassadors with children cycling to school

Science of the Run - Nutrition & Physical Activity from GOi2P on Vimeo.

Todayís video introduces this topic, and Iíve also included a document that was produced by the World Health Organization which is a great summary of the challenges Iíve discussed and outlines the global health strategy that WHO is recommending. In the coming days on the expedition we will do some experiments on exercise and physical activity and highlight some of the challenges related to diet that we have found during our time in the Thar desert of Northern India.

See: WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health (pdf)


Children playing cricket in a school yard in Rajasthan, India

The challenge that we issued to the Youth Ambassadors was to discuss why humans in all parts of the world have such a difficult time incorporating exercise and optimal nutrition into their lives Ė despite having information about how beneficial physical activity and nutrition can be for health. Send in your thoughts and comments if you have ideas about this grand global challenge.


Man with his bike in the Thar desert.