Government of Canada Announces Funding to Get Alberta Families Fit and Healthy

News release

New project aims to get children and families active in the north-central Calgary area

July 6, 2019 - Calgary, Alberta - Public Health Agency of Canada

Being physically active is a pillar of healthy living and plays an important role in helping to prevent future chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. This is why the Government of Canada wants to help more Canadian children be active.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced $1.4 million in funding for Vivo to deliver its Play Project. This four-year initiative aims to increase knowledge, understanding, value and participation in active play by offering free facilitated play opportunities in outdoor spaces for 11,000 children and their families in the north-central Calgary area. This initiative will be supported by Vivo Play Ambassadors—a team of trained staff and volunteers who will use simple activities and materials to create fun and enriching environments to promote play and to engage families to be more physically active.

Funding will also support the development of two related technology tools to measure the impact of play on children, families and the community overall. Participating children and their families will receive wearable activity monitors to capture data about their activity levels. A private, mobile dashboard will let them see how their activity levels directly translate into their risk for chronic disease. High-level aggregate data, along with information on the activity levels of participants, will allow participants to track indicators of their health as well as change in the community throughout the project.

Quotes

We know the benefits that physical activity provides to the health and well-being of Canadians. Vivo’s Play Project will combine supportive social environments with leading-edge technology to help increase physical activity in north-central Calgary. This project shows how we can work with parents and community members to keep our kids healthy and active while helping to lower their risk of chronic disease.

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Inactivity among Canadians is a leading cause of preventable chronic disease and a growing public health issue. Initiatives like the Vivo Play Project are important because they help to create supportive environments for children to develop healthy habits and address the common risk factors underlying many chronic diseases.

Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

The recipe for raising healthier generations doesn’t have to be complicated. When people move more and are socially connected, their lives improve. Open-ended, spontaneous outdoor play is one of the most accessible, adaptable and inclusive ways of bringing those two ingredients to a community. We are thrilled to launch the Vivo Play Project as a cornerstone of our mission to help the community transform itself and continue to raise healthier generations.

Tracey Martin
Senior Manager, Innovation, Vivo

Quick facts

  • Since 2013, the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention – Multi-sectoral Partnerships (MSP Program), has invested $112 million and leveraged an additional $92 million from partners to promote healthy living and prevent chronic disease and injury. The MSP Program addresses the common risk factors that underlie major chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease (e.g., unhealthy weight, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, and tobacco use).

  • According to data from Statistics Canada, only 9.5% of children and youth (aged 5-17 years) meet all the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, which include recommendations for daily physical activity, screen time and sleep. Only 38% of children and youth meet the physical activity guidelines.

  • The Vivo Play Project is an innovative, multi-sector, primary prevention initiative focused on empowering children and their families throughout their lives by introducing spontaneous play opportunities to get them moving more by increasing their physical activity and making social connections with others in their community. The Play Ambassadors model is based on evidence developed through Post-Secondary Research with Mount Royal University and promising interventions from the United Kingdom.

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

Alanna Bryant
Marketing Manager
Vivo for Healthier Generations
587-432-4080

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

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