OTTAWA -- In Canada, one in three children is overweight or obese and less than half of youth report eating a healthy diet. Less than 10% of Canadian children and youth aged 5-17 obtain the daily recommended 60 minutes of physical activity. To help encourage healthy eating, physical activity and reductions in sedentary time, the Government of Canada is supporting a new digital project aimed at Canadian youth and their families.
Also read, Government of Canada invests in program to promote healthy eating.
Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced that the federal government is investing $3.1 million over four years for Living Green and Healthy – A Mobile Program for Youth and their Families.
"The Government of Canada is pleased to work with the Childhood Obesity Foundation to create innovative and simple ways for youth and their parents to make choices throughout their day that contribute to better health and wellness over their lifetime. Living Green and Healthy is one good example of the many initiatives we are undertaking to complement our federal Healthy Eating Strategy to help make healthier choices the easier choice for all Canadians," said Jane Philpott Minister of Health.
The program includes the development of an online tool and mobile app that will encourage Canadians to take steps to adopt and sustain healthier behaviours over time.
"The evidence is clear – youth who embrace healthy lifestyle habits are more likely to be at a healthy weight and have a healthy body image. Our gamified online program will engage youth in a fun, interactive way to improve their health and the health of their families and will also emphasize the positive environmental benefits and cost-savings associated with healthier lifestyles," said
Tom Warshawski, MD Chair, Board of Directors, Childhood Obesity Foundation.
The modules, which include tasks, games and information, will focus on healthy eating whether at school, at home or eating out, integrating physical activity into daily lives, encouraging fewer sedentary behaviours and getting proper rest. Live and virtual coaches will provide support every step of the way.
"For the first time, Canadian children, youth and their parents will have a state-of-the-art mobile program to tackle lifestyles that lead to unhealthy weights. This made-in-Canada solution, built upon Ayogo's award-winning Empower™ platform will unite cognitive computing, knowledge-based actions based on healthy lifestyle choices and the power of fun. I'm thrilled that Ayogo has joined together with our partners to create the most sophisticated youth-centred health app available anywhere in the world," said Michael Fergusson, CEO Ayogo Health Inc.
The Childhood Obesity Foundation, a Canadian authority on issues related to childhood healthy weights, is leading the development and dissemination of the program with Ayogo Health Inc. and Merck Canada, who are also funding partners, with the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The University of British Columbia will lead on evaluating the impact of the mobile program.
"We are proud to partner with Ayogo and the Childhood Obesity Foundation on this innovative program which aims to address an increasing public health issue, childhood obesity, a leading cause of type 2 diabetes in young people. We believe this program will support positive lifestyle changes and ultimately result in better health outcomes," said Jennifer Chan Vice President, Policy and External Affairs, Merck Canada Inc.
SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada
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