Congratulations to Peter Johnson on being the recipient of the 2018 Rising Star Award, at the 6th Canadian Obesity Student Meeting!

Peter is a B.Sc. Honors Physiology and Certificate in Biomedical Research student at the University of Alberta who has developed novel initiatives for CON-SNP and advanced its values, through significant contributions in the field of obesity research, education, and health promotion in his early career. As the Communications Coordinator for CON-SNP’s University of Alberta Chapter, Peter has served on the CON-SNP executive and worked collaboratively to raise its profile on campus over the last two years. At the start of his first term, the chapter was rebuilding its organizational structure and had a low visibility and quieter presence on campus as a result of inactivity in previous years. Peter has promoted engagement with SNPs through regular posts on the chapter’s social media platforms. He also took leadership over design and marketing of CON-SNP events and programming. In addition to organizing chapter initiatives such as the Pedometer Challenge, Edmonton Marathon volunteering, and Chai Sale, Peter presented at UofA’s Health Week on behalf of the chapter and represented CON-SNP at the Student Assembly for Campus Health (SACH), a networking conference for health-minded student affiliations.

Peter’s personal endeavors have also served to advance CON-SNP’s vision and values within the community. For instance, as the president of Run for Support and Health (RuSH), a charitable club that uses physical activity to create meaningful changes within the community, Peter developed the Physical Literacy for Active Youth (PLAY) program. This outreach program uses physical activity sessions and education on the importance of healthy exercise and nutrition to encourage healthy lifestyle practices at a young age to prevent childhood obesity and the onset of obesity or cardiovascular diseases in later life. It was successfully implemented at the University Infant Toddler Centre and will be expanded to elementary schools and daycares in the local community. Peter’s program is also an excellent mentorship opportunity for SNPs to develop their coaching skills and work together with children. He also chairs a group called Nourish for the Health and Wellness Movement on campus, which is dedicated to promoting nutritional health for students by offering healthy food alternatives at a low-cost.

Peter’s desire to understand obesity is also self-evidenced in his research endeavors on elucidating mechanisms for fetal programming and the genetic causes that contribute to obesity. He strives to understand not only how we can implement solutions to the obesity epidemic but also why people become obese in the first place.

Congratulations, Peter!