Section 3: Our health our future – A national dialogue on healthy weights dialogue report – Participation profile
3. Participation Profile
As a national engagement initiative, Our Health Our Future heard from participants across Canada on their ideas for reducing childhood obesity.
Hundreds of individual Canadians and stakeholder organizations participated in one of the 20 in-person engagement events that took place from Aklavik, Northwest Territories and Iqaluit, Nunavut in Canada's North, and Port Coquitlam, British Columbia in the West to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador in the East.
In addition, more than a 1,000 Canadians joined the discussion online and through social media, with 648 online registered participants on the Our Health Our Future website, more than 500 Facebook fans and 268 Twitter followers.
Taken overall, the Our Health Our Future engagement attracted the attention of Canadians, with a prime-time slot on the Canadian Broadcast Corporation's The National broadcast upon launch.
The following table provides a snapshot of the participation levels by engagement channel.
|Engagement Channel / Contribution||#|
|Number of Events||20|
|Number of In-Person Participants||647|
|Comments on Ideas||144|
|Votes on Ideas||477|
|Unique Website Visits||43,914|
This section of the report describes the participation levels in Our Health Our Future and, when available, the demographic characteristics of these participants.
The Our Health Our Future project team conducted a series of in-person events across Canada with key stakeholder groups – Academics and Researchers, Non-Profit Health Care Organizations, Health Care Practitioners, Provincial and Territorial Stakeholders, Youth, Caregivers, Aboriginal Peoples, Industry and Media.
The following map provides a visual snapshot of the geographic locations of the in-person events, showing that all regions of the country were represented.
This distribution of events ensured Our Health Our Future was a truly national dialogue on childhood obesity. Through this engagement process, PHAC heard about the different challenges, ideas and perspectives from each part of Canada.
Specifically, in-person engagement events were held in the following locations. Some cities were the venues for multiple engagement events.
- Aklavik, Northwest Territories
- Iqaluit, Nunavut
- Ottawa, Ontario
- Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
- Toronto, Ontario
- Whitehorse, Yukon
- Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
- Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
- Montreal, Quebec
- Port Coquitlam, British Columbia
- St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
- Vancouver, British Columbia
- Winnipeg, Manitoba
Text equivalent - Map of in-person event locations for Our Health Our Future
A map of Canada with markers placed in each location where an in-person event was held. Markers are located in Yukon, Aklavik, Northwest Territories and Iqaluit, Nunavut, British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.
A broad range of Canadians took part through the online engagement website at www.OurHealthOurFuture.gc.ca. Online participants came from every province and territory, and some were even located outside Canada. Participants actively posted ideas, commented on other people's ideas and voted on the preferred ideas.
A large number of ideas were posted in the Idea Forum on the engagement website. In total, there were 93 separate idea posts, with 144 comments on these posts. Many participants voted to rate up or down the idea in the Forum and, together, there were 477 votes on ideas.
In addition to participation in the Idea Forum, there were 65 online submissions received from stakeholders and individual Canadians.
When added together, idea posts, comments, votes and submissions create a total of 779 active contributions online.
|Comments on ideas||144|
|Votes on Ideas||477|
|Unique Website Visits||43,914|
When visitors to the engagement website wished to post, comment or vote, they were required to register. During the registration process, participants answered a small number of demographic questions including their province or territory and type of participant (individual or stakeholder organization).
Participants came from every province and territory and there was an especially high level of response among participants from Ontario and British Columbia. This is often observed in national online projects due to the population sizes of urban centres in these provinces.
Text equivalent - Online Registrations by Province or Territory
A graph showing the number of online registrations by province or territory. The number of registrations were as follows: British Columbia had 133 registrations, Yukon had 3, Alberta had 43, Saskatchewan had 15, Northwest Territories had 2, Manitoba had 31, Ontario had 271, Quebec had 30, Nunavut had 1, New Brunswick had 7, Nova Scotia had 28, Prince Edward Island had 6, Newfoundland had 6, and outside Canada there were 12 registrations. Ontario and British Columbia had the two highest levels of registrations.
Participants were also asked to identify their perspective or category from three options: Organization/Association, Individual, and Government or its Agency.
Participants came from each category but were mainly organizations or individual Canadians. Fourteen percent of registered users indicated they were participating on behalf of an organization or association and 84% as an individual.
Text equivalent - Registration by Participant Type
A graph showing registration by participant type. There were 80 organizations registered, 484 individuals registered and 10 government agencies registered.
A final measure of Our Health Our Future's online engagement reach is site activity. While some site visitors decided to register and take part in the conversation, other visitors used the site primarily for learning and education purposes and may not have participated in the dialogue itself.
In total, 43,914 different users visited the Our Health Our Future site during the open engagement. The following chart describes unique site visits by date and illustrates that the level of site activity varied considerably between the launch date of March 7 and closing date on July 29.
Figure 13. A chart of unique site visits to www.OurHealthOurFuture.gc.ca March 7 to July 29, 2011:
Text equivalent - Chart of unique site
A graph depicting unique site visits to the Our Health Our Future website from March 7, 2011 to July 29, 2011. The graph peaks in early March 2011 with over 1,000 site visits. It remains consistent at between 0 to 250 visits through April and May. The graph peaks again in June with about 800 visits and in mid July with 1,000 visits. The graph tapers off again at the end of July with between 0-250 visits.
Early high levels of site activity fell at the end of March 2011. Site activity then remained low until early June when it gradually increased to significant levels. The timing of low site activity corresponds to the period of the federal election, during which limits were placed on all Government of Canada communications and outreach, including Our Health Our Future (as per Government of Canada policy).
Between March 26 and June 1, no updates or moderator posts were made to either the engagement website or social media presences on Facebook and Twitter. Once updates resumed, site activity again increased to levels similar to the weeks immediately after launch.
During the few months they were moderated and active, the Our Health Our Future presences on Facebook and Twitter generated significant interaction and idea sharing. The presences built a combined community of 772 followers/fans, each of whom could share updates and information about the Our Health Our Future conversation with their own individual social networks of friends.
The following table describes the community sizes and interaction levels for Facebook and Twitter:
When users became a fan of the Our Health Our Future presence on Facebook, basic demographic information about participants was collected, including age, gender and geography. This data is stored anonymously without connecting demographics with any username or personally identifiable information. An analysis of fan demographics allows us to understand the makeup of the Our Health Our Future community on Facebook.
One important reason for using Facebook was to reach and engage young Canadians in a dialogue on healthy weights. With this in mind, it is encouraging to see that the largest age group of fans was aged 13-17 years old, both among female and male participants. High levels of fans also came from the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups, which included parents with both young children and older youth.
Figure 14. Graph showing Facebook Fan Demographics:
Text equivalent - Facebook Fan Demographics
A graph showing Facebook fan demographics by age and gender. In the 13-17 age range there are 137 females and 90 males. In the18-24 age range there are 20 females and 15 males. In the 25-34 age range there are 86 females and 24 males. In the 35-44 age range there are 64 females and 19 males. In the 45-54 age range there are 14 females and 6 males. In the 55+ age range there are 15 females and 3 males.
In terms of activity levels on Facebook, the trend for engagement over time was similar to the overall site activity levels for the main Our Health Our Future website at www.OurHealthOurFuture.gc.ca.
As shown in the chart below, the number of active users spiked shortly after launch but experienced a significant reduction during the federal election period, before a sustained higher level of active users was experienced again after June 1 until the end of the engagement. Active users included fans as well as their own friends who viewed or interacted with the Our Health Our Future Facebook page (in either English or French).
Figure 15. Graph showing Facebook active users over the engagement period:
Text equivalent - Facebook Active Users by Date
A graph showing Facebook’s active users over the engagement period from March 8 to July 26, 2011. This graph shows that the peak period for Facebook activity was mid March at 1,400 users. There is almost no activity during April and May. Activity picks up again at the end of May peaking throughout June at 600-700 users, with highest activity in early July at 800 users. Activity tapers off again from mid July to the end of July, 2011.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter is a more anonymous social media platform that collects very little required demographic information from participants. The following chart shows the size of the Our Health Our Future community on Twitter and the level of interaction and engagement.
Combined English and French presences consisted of 268 participants, with 256 directly followed back by Our Health Our Future. A total of 409 status updates or tweets were posted to this community, and 102 idea messages were received back from followers and broader members of the Twitter network.
While a statistical analysis of the Our Health Our Future Twitter community is not possible due to its privacy settings, a review of our followers reveals that the community includes health professionals, industry, health sector non-profit agencies, health sciences students, and individual Canadians with an interest in childhood obesity.
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