Section 5: Our health our future – A national dialogue on healthy weights dialogue report – Conclusions

5. Conclusions

Through the Our Health Our Future consultation process, stakeholders across Canada have participated in a dialogue that will help inform the actions of FPT governments as they determine future priorities for addressing childhood obesity. The contributions of stakeholders will contribute to the upcoming Health Ministers Meeting. At the same time, engaging the relevant sectors on this issue has provided significant opportunities for increased multisectoral collaboration and knowledge sharing. The dialogue will culminate in a National Summit, which will bring stakeholders together from across Canada to share their best practices and explore concrete actions for the future.

Participant evaluation of the in-person dialogues indicates overall satisfaction with the engagement process. All of the survey items in the evaluations received positive feedback from the majority of participants. Overall, the following components received the highest ratings (i.e. agree or strongly agree) from over 90% of all regional stakeholder, caregiver, Canadian Obesity Network, industry, media and National Aboriginal Organization participants: relevance of the agenda, plans to stay connected with the dialogue, freedom to express views freely, effectiveness of the facilitation, appropriateness of the facilities, session objectives being met, and relevance of the Framework for Action presentation. The youth participants were surveyed on a similar set of evaluation questions and rated the dialogue process very positively as well. The following items received the highest ratings for youth: effectiveness of the discussion leader, use of keypads, and ease of understanding the topics.

This positive feedback was further validated in participants' written comments. Some examples include:

  • Winnipeg regional stakeholder: “Great discussions and networking opportunity. As a result I feel more aware of initiatives which could impact my own professional practice.”
  • Toronto caregiver: “Great to see community input happening for our children.”
  • Ottawa industry: “Very worthwhile and an issue of high importance in our industry... Thank you.”
  • Aklavik dialogue: “It was a good meeting, we enjoyed it. It was fun and not just talk, talk, talk! It was very understandable.”
  • Vancouver youth: “Thank you for hosting this! It's so important for youth to have a say... I really hope some of our ideas become some sort of reality for Canada.”
  • Toronto media: “Great day, good representative group. Would be interested in hearing more about the Summit and next steps.”

Although participants reacted positively to the in-person dialogues, they expressed the desire for more discussion time. A number of participants felt more time was needed to cover the agenda items and for questions following the framework presentation and keypad questions.

The results of this national initiative reveal a strong appetite for concerted and coordinated multisectoral action to reverse the trend line of childhood obesity. Through both professional and personal experiences, participants recognized the urgency of this issue and were passionate about identifying potential solutions. Participants know that sustained action and long-term commitment means governments, families, communities and industry must make this a priority. Overall, Our Health Our Future helps demonstrate that Canadians are prepared to join together in this critical first step to address childhood obesity in this country.

We wish to sincerely acknowledge and thank all of the participants for their enthusiasm, contributions and overall commitment in working to promote healthy weights for children. We also wish to thank the Public Health Agency of Canada for the honour of being involved with this inspiring initiative.

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