Government of Canada Supports Health and Well-being for Children and Youth in Saskatchewan

News release

Healthy Kids Initiative will help up to 3,000 children and youth in the province

April 17, 2019 - Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan - Public Health Agency of Canada

Being physically active, eating healthy foods and having positive mental health are all pillars of healthy living. They play an important role in supporting the well-being of young Canadians and helping to prevent the development of chronic diseases later in life, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced that the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is investing up to $1.5 million over three years in the Alliance Wellness and Rehabilitation Inc. (Alliance Health) Healthy Kids Initiative. This is a three-year initiative to improve the activity levels, eating habits and social supports of up to 3,000 children and youth between the ages of 10 and 17 in Moose Jaw, Regina and Saskatoon in Saskatchewan.

The Healthy Kids Initiative is a 12-week program that takes a whole-of-community approach to promoting healthy living by providing daily physical activity and access to healthy eating and mental health sessions. A kinesiologist, a registered dietician and a youth social worker will supervise these sessions. Alliance Health is partnering with the YMCA to provide free access to fitness facilities. In addition, school boards and family physicians will be involved throughout the initiative to support children and youth in adopting healthier lifestyles. As part of the project, a mobile application called The Daily Difference will be developed with input from children and youth. The aim of the application is to provide self-help techniques to address depressed mood, mild anxiety and low self-esteem while improving physical activity and nutritional intake.

The initiative builds on the positive results from the previously funded Healthy Weights Initiative, which applied a similar approach to support 2,000 adults in Moose Jaw and Regina in achieving and maintaining a healthier weight. Participants from the Healthy Weights Initiative demonstrated positive changes in blood pressure, body mass index, fitness levels, depressed mood and quality of life.

Quotes

The Government of Canada is committed to improving the overall health and well-being of children and youth in Canada to help prevent the development of chronic diseases later in life. The Healthy Kids Initiative is a great example of community partners coming together and taking an innovative approach to achieving and maintaining well-being of children and youth in Saskatchewan.

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Being active and eating healthy foods goes hand in hand with positive mental health and is part of a complete picture of overall health and well-being. I am pleased to see the comprehensive approach of the Healthy Kids Initiative, which is helping children and youth in Saskatchewan achieve their optimal health.

Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

The Healthy Kids Initiative, and The Daily Difference app, are excellent examples of inter agency collaboration that combines the strengths of the private sector (Alliance Health medical clinics), the not for profit sector (the YMCA’s of Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Regina), a provincial government (the Saskatchewan Health Authority) and the federal government (the Public Health Agency of Canada) while including local communities. Together, we will help improve the health and quality of life of children.

Dr. Mark Lemstra
Alliance Health

Quick facts

  • The Healthy Kids Initiative is funded through the Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention – Multi-sectoral Partnerships (MSP) program. The MSP program supports innovative partnerships to promote healthy eating, physical activity and wellness, as well as addresses the common risk factors that underlie major chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

  • PHAC is piloting a funding model whereby the service provider, Alliance Health in this case, will be eligible for incentive payments based on measurable improvements in the health of participants, including changes in aerobic fitness and mental well-being.

Contacts

Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
613-957-2983
hc.media.sc@canada.ca

Public Inquiries:
613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709


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