Childhood Obesity & Active Healthy Living

Healthy Active Living - Policy and Practice in Canadian Academic Pediatric Health Centres – Working together to promote practice change

Over twenty-six percent of Canadian youth are overweight/obese and at risk of developing health complications. As community leaders integrally involved with children's health, it is vital that pediatric hospitals play a role in obesity prevention and health promotion for children, families and staff.

In 2006, in partnership with the Canadian Association of Pediatric Health Centres (CAPHC) and the Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS) we surveyed healthy active living (HAL) policy and practice in all sixteen CAPHC member organizations. Survey data revealed that the majority of organizations did not adequately enable patients, families and staff to eat foods of highest nutritive value and become more physically active.

In 2009, a modified HAL survey was again completed by the sixteen CAPHC member organizations, which found little change had occurred. Specifically sixty-two percent had fast food/coffee franchises and thirty-eight percent increased vending machine numbers. None had physical activity promotion policies.

To address these deficiencies, we convened a meeting of a multi-disciplinary, pan-Canadian task force in Edmonton on April 27th, 2009. The ideas generated by this national task force and associated research is captured in the enclosed booklet “Healthy Active Living - Policy and Practice in Canadian Academic Pediatric Health Centres – Working together to promote practice change. This compendium of ideas outlines several options, referred to as “Gold, Silver and Bronze Standards” to begin to address the current challenges and subsequent risks shared by all Canadian children’s hospitals.

Going forward, we hope to work with and engage all Children’s Hospitals who participated in the original surveys, as well as welcome other organizations, in an active national campaign to pilot and implement these changes within and across organizations. We welcome your feedback on these various ideas and invite new colleagues to join us as part of our HAL Pan-Canadian Task Force.


Claire MA LeBlanc MD, FRCPC
Associate Professor Pediatrics
University of Alberta

More Information

For more information on CAPHC's Obesity & Active Healthy Living Program please visit the following pages:

»  Addressing Childhood Obesity: The Evidence for Action

» Practising What We Preach: A Look at Healthy Active Living Policy and Practice in Canadian Paediatric Hospitals

» Childhood Obesity: Do We Have the Right Perspective?

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