Government of Canada supports innovative healthy lifestyles program for youth and families

News Release

Digital program will promote adoption of healthier food and physical activity habits

April 21, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario - Public Health Agency of Canada

In Canada, one in three children is overweight or obese and less than half of youth report eating a healthy diet. Less than 10% of Canadian children and youth aged 5-17 obtain the daily recommended 60 minutes of physical activity. To help encourage healthy eating, physical activity and reductions in sedentary time, the Government of Canada is supporting a new digital project aimed at Canadian youth and their families.

Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced that the federal government is investing $3.1 million over four years for Living Green and Healthy – A Mobile Program for Youth and their Families.

The program includes the development of an online tool and mobile app that will encourage Canadians to take steps to adopt and sustain healthier behaviours over time.

The modules, which include tasks, games and information, will focus on healthy eating whether at school, at home or eating out, integrating physical activity into daily lives, encouraging fewer sedentary behaviours and getting proper rest. Live and virtual coaches will provide support every step of the way.

The Childhood Obesity Foundation, a Canadian authority on issues related to childhood healthy weights, is leading the development and dissemination of the program with Ayogo Health Inc. and Merck Canada, who are also funding partners, with the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The University of British Columbia will lead on evaluating the impact of the mobile program.  


“The Government of Canada is pleased to work with the Childhood Obesity Foundation to create innovative and simple ways for youth and their parents to make choices throughout their day that contribute to better health and wellness over their lifetime. Living Green and Healthy is one good example of the many initiatives we are undertaking to complement our federal Healthy Eating Strategy to help make healthier choices the easier choice for all Canadians”

The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

“The evidence is clear – youth who embrace healthy lifestyle habits are more likely to be at a healthy weight and have a healthy body image. Our gamified online program will engage youth in a fun, interactive way to improve their health and the health of their families and will also emphasize the positive environmental benefits and cost-savings associated with healthier lifestyles.”

Tom Warshawski, MD
Chair, Board of Directors, Childhood Obesity Foundation

“For the first time, Canadian children, youth and their parents will have a state-of-the-art mobile program to tackle lifestyles that lead to unhealthy weights. This made-in-Canada solution, built upon Ayogo's award-winning Empower™ platform will unite cognitive computing, knowledge-based actions based on healthy lifestyle choices and the power of fun. I'm thrilled that Ayogo has joined together with our partners to create the most sophisticated youth-centred health app available anywhere in the world.”

Michael Fergusson, CEO
Ayogo Health Inc.

“We are proud to partner with Ayogo and the Childhood Obesity Foundation on this innovative program which aims to address an increasing public health issue, childhood obesity, a leading cause of type 2 diabetes in young people. We believe this program will support positive lifestyle changes and ultimately result in better health outcomes.” 

Jennifer Chan
Vice President, Policy and External Affairs, Merck Canada Inc.

Key facts

  • 28% of Canadian adults have height and weight measurements classifying them as obese.
  • Obesity contributes to the development of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
  • Living Green and Healthy – A Mobile Program for Youth and their Families is being funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada through its Multi-Sectoral Partnership Approach to Promote Healthy Living and Prevent Chronic Disease. This program has invested $49 million and leveraged an additional $43 million from partners to support initiatives that promote healthy eating, physical activity and wellness, and to address the common risk factors that underlie major chronic diseases.
  • This program supports the Government of Canada’s vision for a healthy Canada – a holistic approach that includes healthy eating, healthy living and a healthy mind.

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Andrew MacKendrick
Office of Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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