Healthy Living: Promoting healthy living for young Canadians
Today’s launch of the ACTIVE AT SCHOOL campaign by the Canadian Tire Corporation and their partners complements the important efforts being made by many jurisdictions and sectors in Canada, as profiled in Towards a Healthier Canada - 2013 Progress Report on Advancing the Federal / Provincial / Territorial Framework on Healthy Weights. (www.towardsahealthiercanada.ca)
Increasingly, obese children and youth are being diagnosed with a range of health conditions previously seen almost exclusively among adults, including Type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and joint problems.
While physical activity plays an important role in the health, well-being and quality of life of all Canadians, it is particularly important for children and youth. Habits formed early can last a lifetime. Regular physical activity provides health benefits that improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and bone density.
That’s why the Government of Canada is committed to working with the provinces and territories and across sectors to promote healthy living, reduce the risk of obesity and help young Canadians have the healthiest start in life. This ‘whole of society’ approach brings together partners from all sectors in order to create the necessary conditions that support young Canadians to lead a more active lifestyle.
The Government helps Canadians make healthier choices through various initiatives and actions, including through:
- The Children's Fitness Tax Credit;
- The Children’s Health and Safety Campaign, which includes a one-stop web site where parents can find easy-to-understand, expert information on topics that affect their family’s health and well-being. To view visit: (www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/kids);
- The Eat Well and Be Active Educational Toolkit, designed to support health and education intermediaries to teach children and adults about healthy lifestyle choices;
- The Nutrition Facts Education Campaign, which helps consumers understand and use the information on the Nutrition facts table, and in particular, the % Daily Value to make informed food choices;
- The Innovation Strategy, which supports promising projects that promote public health in communities across Canada, and address complex health issues and their underlying causes;
- Funding to ParticipACTION to promote healthy lifestyles to Canadians through physical activity and sport;
- Funding to support a range of related community-based programs and services such as Nutrition North Canada, Aboriginal Head Start, Active and Safe, and the Canadian Diabetes Strategy – to name just a few;
- Funding to organizations such as Défi Pierre Lavoie, Canadian Tire Jumpstart and Kidsport that provide children with their first experience in sport;
- Matching funding to provincial and territorial governments for projects that develop fundamental movement and sport skills of Canadians;
- Providing information, tools and other resources to help Canadians incorporate regular physical activity into their lifestyles, including Get Active Tip Sheets; and
- Promoting healthy eating through Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide, which helps Canadians make healthy food choices, and Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide - First Nations, Inuit and Métis, which reflects the importance of country or traditional foods and store-bought foods.
In addition, the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Integrated Strategy on Healthy Living and Chronic Disease invests nearly $20 million each year to support innovative multi-sectoral partnerships. This approach recognizes that innovation and greater impact can be achieved by engaging all segments of society, including the private sector, in addressing complex social issues such as obesity and the prevention of chronic diseases. Current partnerships include:
- Project with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and Sun Life Financial to expand the Get BUSY (Building the Ultimate and Sensational You) program to 22 communities across the country, including low-income, rural, remote and northern communities.
- Project with Loyalty One, Inc., (Air Miles for Social Change) and the YMCA, to support an incentive-based program to get Canadians active and stay active over the long term. This program awards Air Miles to YMCA members at 15 locations when Canadians use fitness facilities and register their children for day camp sessions.
- Project with Right to Play International, and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to address the gaps in diabetes prevention among Aboriginal youth in urban and off-reserve settings by focussing on education, awareness, and the promotion of healthy and active living.
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