The Healthy Start initiative was created by a partnership of committed individuals and organizations who strive to enhance the health of young children 0-5 years through daily physical activity and healthy eating.
The partners include:
Réseau Santé en français de la Saskatchewan (RSFS) / Network of Health Services in French
Association des parents Fransaskois (APF) / Fransaskois Parent Association
Conseil des écoles fransaskoises
University of Saskatchewan (College of Kinesiology, and Department Community Health & Epidemiology)
In motion/en mouvement National Network of Researchers and Canadian Communities "in motion"
Young children of Saskatchewan are physically active and have healthy eating habits.
Encourage and enable families and caregivers to integrate physical activity and health eating in the daily lives of young children.
We Believe in the Following Principles:
… that physical activity and healthy eating contribute to the foundation for healthy growth and development.
… that young children are highly influenced by their social environment (families and their caregivers) and physical environment (care settings, indoor/outdoor space).
… there is a shared responsibility with partners to develop policy, and build capacity for the long term sustainability of our vision.
… the availability of quality accessible resources, tools, and training that support caregivers, families, and reflect the needs of young children.
… decision-making is based on evidence from research, and community and cultural experiences.
… our actions should reflect the needs of an inclusive and diverse community.
The long term goal of Healthy Start is to work with partners throughout Saskatchewan to develop a sustainable physical activity and healthy eating strategy for young children promoting healthy weights within a care environment.
Overweight and obesity in Canadians under the age of 6 is rising. The prevalence of obesity in those aged 2-5 years is between 8-11%. National data show that 15.2% of 2-5-year-olds are overweight and 6.3% are obese1. (Active Healthy Kids Canada, 2010)
Evidence suggests that 71% of 4 – 8 year old children eat less than the recommended minimum number of servings of vegetables and fruit2 (2004 Canadian Community Health Survey: Nutrition) and that preschool aged children are insufficiently active3. (Pate et al., 2004; Reilly et al., 2004) Only 36% of 2-3 year-olds and 44% of 4-5 year-olds engage regularly in unorganized sport and physical activity each week4. (The National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, 2007) In childcare centre settings 89% of children’s time is spent being sedentary5. (Brown, et al., 2009)
Based on this research it is important to target young children within a childcare environment as the caregivers can play a critical role in providing children with opportunities to be physically active, eat healthy and learn the skills they will need to lead an active healthy lifestyle. In addition, childcare centers and workers can offer families support and strategies to promote physical activity and healthy eating for their young children.
Download the Healthy Start brochure here.
Funding for this project was provided by:
(Note-the views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Public Agency of Canada)