GOVERNMENT OF CANADA TAKES ACTION ON CHILDHOOD OBESITY

OTTAWA, Nov. 15 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today announced new initiatives for research on physical activity and childhood obesity through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

"Our Government is committed to helping Canadians become healthier through physical activity, eating well and maintaining a healthy weight," said Minister Aglukkaq. "This research will help more children become physically active and help us in our efforts to curb childhood obesity in Canada."

Over the last 25 years, there has been an alarming rise in the proportion of overweight and obese children. Obesity rates among children and youth have nearly tripled during this period. It is an issue that affects children everywhere in Canada. Like tobacco use, obesity substantially increases the risk of developing some of the most debilitating chronic diseases; obesity contributes to type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. 

"Research plays a key role in developing sound policies and programs," said Dr. Nicole Letourneau, a member of CIHR's Governing Council and the Canada Research Chair in Healthy Child Development at the University of New Brunswick. "The work of the talented researchers leading the projects announced today will support the development of new policies, programs and strategies that promote healthy living."

Minister Aglukkaq also highlighted additional actions the Government of Canada has taken to help Canadian children live healthy lifestyles including:

  • The Children's Fitness Tax Credit

  • Eat Well and Be Active Toolkit
    The Eat Well and Be Active Educational Toolkit  is a joint project between Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. The Toolkit is designed to help health and education specialists teach children and adults about healthy eating and physical activity, and to encourage them to take action to maintain and improve their health. It includes a poster and downloadable activity plans and healthy eating and physical activity tips. 
  • The Nutrition Facts Education Campaign
    The Government of Canada and Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) are working together on the Nutrition Facts Education Campaign. This campaign gives Canadians the information they need to make informed food choices to maintain and improve their health. The multi-media campaign helps consumers understand and use the information on the Nutrition Facts table, and in particular, the % Daily Value. Using the % Daily Value is a quick way for consumers to know if a packaged food contains a little or a lot of a nutrient. This helps Canadians make healthy food choices for themselves and their families.

About Canadian Institutes of Health Research For the past 10 years, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has supported better health and health care for Canadians. As the Government of Canada's health research investment agency, CIHR enables the creation of evidence-based knowledge and its transformation into improved treatments, prevention and diagnoses, new products and services, and a stronger, patient-oriented health-care system. Composed of 13 internationally recognized Institutes, CIHR supports more than 13,600 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

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BACKGROUNDER

The Government of Canada is working to help Canadians live healthy lifestyles that include physical activity, healthy eating and maintaining a healthy body weight. Our Government funds research, develops educational resources, and works with provincial and territorial governments as well as non-government partners to create policies and programs that support health living.

Today, Minister Algukkaq announced support for nine research projects on physical activity and childhood obesity, including:

  • Dr. Mark Beauchamp (University of British Columbia) will determine the effect of a unique intervention designed to increase physical activity among adolescents;
  • Dr. Jonathan McGavock (University of Manitoba) will study the effect of different exercise programs on the health of overweight youth at risk for type 2 diabetes;
  • Dr. Sonia Anand (McMaster University) will study how body fat accumulates in newborns of Indian ancestry in Canada and India;
  • Dr. Zubin Punthakee (McMaster University) and Dr. Scott Lear (Simon Fraser University) will examine the determinants of obesity in Asian Indian children living in Canada and India;
  • Dr. Lara Boyd (University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute) will study the effect of the combination of brain stimulation and arm exercises on arm function in rehabilitation after stroke;
  • Dr. Donna Goodwin (University of Alberta) will examine the experience of disabled persons making the transition from rehabilitation to community fitness programs;
  • Dr. Marina Mourtzakis (University of Waterloo) will study the combined benefits of nutrition and exercise for breast cancer patients undergoing treatment;
  • Dr. Michael Stickland (University of Alberta) will investigate the physiological effect of exercise on patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and,
  • Dr. John Tyberg (University of Calgary) will study the importance of arterial reservoir in the distribution of blood to vital organs in the body and how exercise affects the volume of this reservoir.

Promoting Healthy Living to Canadians

These are some of the ways that the Government is promoting the benefits of healthy living to Canadians:

  • The Child Fitness Tax Credit
  • The Eat Well and Be Active Educational Toolkit is designed to help health and education specialists teach children and adults about healthy eating and physical activity.
  • The Government of Canada and Food & Consumer Products of Canada are working together on the Nutrition Facts Education Campaign, an initiative that will give Canadians the information they need to make informed food choices to maintain and improve their health.
  • Canada's Physical Activity Guides provide information on how Canadians can integrate healthy physical activity in their daily lives.
  • Setting targets for physical activity for children and youth, in partnership with provinces and territories, and measuring progress against targets through surveillance.
  • Funding to support a range of community-based programs and services such as the Canadian Diabetes Strategy, Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative, Healthy Living Fund, Aboriginal Head Start, the Community Action Program for Children, Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program, the Maternal Child Health Program and renewal of the food mail program for northern communities.
  • Committing to work with provincial and territorial governments, and other sectors, on Curbing Childhood Obesity: An FPT Framework for Action to Promote Healthy Weights.

SOURCE Canadian Institutes of Health Research

For further information: For further information:

Jenny VanAlstyne, Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, 613-957-0200
David Coulombe, Media Relations, CIHR, 613-941-4563


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