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Sun Life and Beyond Sport Partner on Youth Basketball Program in Asia


Leading Canadian financial services company, Sun Life, is partnering with Beyond Sport on a new “Hoops + Health” program to encourage young people to be more physically active and live healthier lives  with a special focus on engaging marginalized youth. Over the course of the next year, communities in Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam will enjoy revitalized basketball courts and workshops for coaches as part of the collaboration.

Across Asia, high levels of physical inactivity and sedentary behavior among children and adolescents are contributing to high rates of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, mental health challenges and other damaging health outcomes. According to the 2022 Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance report sponsored by Sun Life, “in terms of overall physical activity, Hong Kong and Malaysia attained a grade D- while Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam received a grade F, which means fewer than 20% of children ages 6 to 17 are achieving at least an average of 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity across the week.”

In response, Sun Life and Beyond Sport have come together to use sport to deliver youth programs and train coaches to address the growing public health concern. Basketball is one of the world’s most popular sports and its benefits for healthy development are many. The fast-paced game incorporates strength, speed and coordination, is widely accessible and has low barriers to entry. It is therefore an ideal platform to support long-term healthy behaviors and teach life skills such as teamwork and focus.

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From left to right: Paul Joliat, VP Global Partnerships & Marketing Planning Sun Life; Kaiser Simanungkalit, VP Branding, Communications & Client Experience Sun Life Indonesia; Fred Turner, Executive Director Beyond Sport; and Kah Jing Lee, Chief Client Officer Sun Life Indonesia.

“Sun Life is always eager to promote health and wellness in fun and engaging ways so more young people will be encouraged to make it a part of their lifestyle. Movement matters, and we hope that this activity brought home this important message,” said Sun Life Vice President of Global Partnerships & Marketing Planning, Paul Joliat. “At the same time, we wish to create a lasting legacy in the communities we work in so they too will be on the road to healthier lives.”

The new basketball-focused program was announced during Sun Life’s Celebrity & Basketball Weekend in Jakarta and a 3X3 Charity Challenge in Manila which took place from August 18-20. As part of the events, Sun Life donated funds for each participant as well as for every like, comment, share and post on social media using #MovementMatters through August 28. The company raised $1 million CAD to support Hoops + Health through the campaign.

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"Millions of young people globally face barriers to accessing sport and all the advantages that come with it. Often that barrier is as simple as having a safe space to move and play. We are proud to partner with Sun Life on Hoops + Health to improve physical and mental wellbeing outcomes for marginalized youth," said Beyond Sport Executive Director, Fred Turner. "Built with community and sustainability in mind, we hope this program will help them develop life-long habits that will allow them to thrive."

Hoops + Health will engage thousands of youth and community sport coaches. In each of the six countries, the program will revitalize a court in an area of need with the support of expert partners focused on sustainability. Following the refurbishments, youth basketball programs and a coach education workshop will be held at the sites. Coaches will be provided with tools and a curriculum to help them use basketball to teach vital health and wellness topics such as nutrition, the benefits of physical activity and mental wellbeing to local youth.

As one of the largest public companies in Canada, Sun Life serves millions in Canada, the US, Asia, the UK and other parts of the world with a goal to help its clients achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives. In March 2023, Canada Basketball and Sun Life entered into a multi-year sponsorship. With the new Hoops + Health partnership with Beyond Sport, the company is reaffirming its commitment to helping people take control of their health through the power of basketball.