Challenging Communities to Create a Healthy Ontario
Ontario Announces 45 Communities to Join Healthy Kids Community Challenge
Ontario is challenging communities across the province to promote healthy and active lifestyles among children and youth with the launch of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge.
45 communities across Ontario have been chosen to participate in the challenge, including the City of Toronto. Over the next four years, these communities will deliver local programs and activities to promote children's health focusing on healthy eating, physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices, such as the importance of getting adequate sleep.
The participating communities will receive resources from the province, including funding, training and marketing tools to support local programs. Examples of programs and activities communities will organize for local children and youth include:
- After-school cooking clubs with dietitians
- Healthy breakfast clubs for children living in poverty
- Organized play activities during school recess
- Neighbourhood parks orientation day
- Pick up baseball after Sunday dinner
Supporting initiatives to help children and youth grow up healthy is part of Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care and is a key component of the Healthy Kids Strategy. It is also part of the government's plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic business climate.
- The list of announced communities is available on the Healthy Kids Community Challenge website.
- Participating communities will begin implementing local programs and activities in winter 2015.
- The Healthy Kids Community Challenge is based on the EPODE (Ensemble Prévenons l’Obesité des Enfants – Together Let’s Prevent Childhood Obesity) methodology. EPODE began in France and has been recognized by the World Health Organization as an international best practice in obesity prevention.
- Communities applied to participate in the challenge between January and March 2014. They were selected based on clear evidence of need among local children and youth, the community’s ability to establish strong partnerships with local businesses, schools and health organizations, and a demonstrated ability to deliver programs for children and youth.
- Adult obesity is associated with an increased risk of chronic disease. Currently 75 per cent of obese children grow up to become obese adults.
“Healthy lifestyle habits begin at a young age. As parents, educators, community leaders, and health professionals, we all play a part in building the foundation for a healthy future for our kids. I look forward to seeing the Healthy Kids Community Challenge participants engage local youth and make a real difference in the health of children across the province.”
“We want all kids in Ontario to get the best possible start in life, and that means growing up healthy. This is why we launched the Healthy Kids Community Challenge. It will help communities run local programs and activities across Ontario that put children and youth on the path to active, healthy lives.”