Public Health Agency of Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada
Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion

Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion

April 24, 2009 14:37 ET

The Government of Canada Works With Ontario to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Among Young People

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 24, 2009) - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Federal Minister of Health, and Ontario Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best today announced a shared investment of $3.4 million toward eight physical activity and healthy eating projects for children and youth across Ontario.

The projects promote healthy living by providing children and youth with opportunities to become more physically active, eat healthier and take early steps to improve their health.

"If we want our children to grow up to be healthy adults, we need to help them develop good habits early on," said Minister Aglukkaq. "These programs give kids a chance to be active and eat well every day and provide them with a head start on staying healthy."

"I am very pleased that we have this opportunity to partner with the federal government to promote healthy and active living in Ontario," said Margarett Best. "In order to have an impact on the lives of Canadian children and youth, we need to continue our collaboration with all levels of government and our partners to increase rates of physical activity and to encourage healthy food choices."

Canada's Physical Activity Guides recommend that children work towards at least 90 minutes of physical activity each day to stay healthy. The Guides also recommend children reduce time spent on activities such as watching television and surfing the Internet by the same amount.

The Eating Well With Canada's Food Guide recommends a careful selection of foods balanced by physical activity. The Guide gives Canadians detailed information on the amount and types of food recommended for their age and gender. It also encourages Canadians to focus on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, milk and meat. It discourages foods that are high in calories, fat, sugar and salt.

On May 22, 2008 federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for sport, physical activity and recreation set Canada's first-ever national physical activity targets for children and youth aged 5 to 19. One of the targets is to increase the proportion of children and youth who participate in 90 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by seven percentage points over the next six years. This is over and above activities of daily living.

The Government of Canada is working with all provincial and territorial governments to support physical activity and healthy eating opportunities through bilateral agreements. The agreements allow governments to maximize their investments in healthy living and deliver coordinated pan-Canadian responses to the issues of physical inactivity, unhealthy eating and unhealthy weights.

In Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal Government also allocated $500 million over two years to support construction of new recreational facilities across Canada - including hockey arenas, soccer fields and tennis an basketball courts - which will help promote physical fitness among young people.

The government of Ontario's goal is to develop a culture of health and well being in Ontario. This Bilateral Agreement supports the Ontario government's strategy to promote healthy, active lifestyles for all Ontarians.

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Eight projects are receiving funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion under the new Physical Activity and Healthy Eating funding program. The program is designed to address conditions that support physical activity, healthy eating and healthy weights among Ontarians.

The projects are as follows:

YMCA of Ontario

$1,529,566, over two years

This project is aimed at improving physical activity and healthy eating behaviours in more than 8,800 children in low-income neighbourhoods across Ontario through the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) Kids Club program. The YMCA CATCH Kids Club program is a hands-on, after-school program composed of four components: classroom curriculum, physical education, a food service with nutritious food, and homework for children to complete with grown-up assistance. The project will bring the Kids Club program to children in more than 300 Ontario sites, including schools and community organizations.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada

$137,076, over two years

This project will develop a physical activity and healthy eating program for adolescent boys called "Go Boys!" The program will help teenage boys address health and nutrition concerns, and will also promote the benefits of being physically active. Big Brothers Big Sisters will use the power of mentoring to positively influence the young participants.

La Federation de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne (FESFO)

$23,460, over two years

FESFO will run workshops for youth leaders to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and healthy eating. These newly-trained leaders will, with the assistance of FESFO instructors, take the information garnered back to their communities where they will organize physical activity days for other students in their schools.

International Fun and Team Athletics (IFTA)

$191,454, over two years

The Ontario Youth Fitness Monitoring Program is designed to monitor and improve the fitness levels of over 50,000 Ontario School Children for a two-year period. It will increase physical activity participation levels in Ontario while building upon existing community physical activity action plans and previous IFTA project work. It will also dedicate funding towards developing simple and effective resources for teachers to continue the program on a sustainable basis after the end of the two-year project.

Ka:nen - Our Children, Our Future

$157,276, over two years

The "Bmikwe endso-gizhgak" program provides off-reserve Aboriginal mothers and their children the opportunity to participate in physical activity. This program will be offered in 40 communities across the province and will be free for all families. The program will offer summer and winter walks in safe locations and accompanied by a program volunteer.

Motivate Canada - Esteem Team

$194,729, over two years

The Get Fit program is a specialized physical activity program providing instruction in sports that are on the Olympic and Paralympics program, such as ice hockey, gymnastics, skating, skiing, boxing, cycling, canoeing and kayaking. It will also promote exercises related to the sports that focus on fitness and non-competitive physical contact. The focus of the program is to introduce active healthy living strategies through structured and empowering presentations delivered by Canadian elite level athletes.

Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (OPHEA)

$246,741, over one year

The JiggaJump Family Fit Fest is a program designed to address the disconnect between the knowledge and awareness of parents and the actual participation levels of their children. The Family Fit Fest includes three components: a parent/caregiver information booklet and music/movement CD with practical information about how to be active with children; live concerts at shopping mall locations in 12 locations across Ontario; and community fairs hosted at the 12 shopping malls on the day of the live concerts to provide partners in healthy eating and local physical activity programming and other local organizations an opportunity to promote and distribute programs and resources that support families of children under six years in increasing their physical activity levels.

Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC)

$968,820 over one year

The Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program (UAHL) is working towards achieving the following desired health outcomes for Friendship Centre participants and communities: increased healthy eating, increased physical activity levels, increased healthier lifestyle choices, increased numbers of youth who are engaged and participating in leadership programming.

Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Public Health Agency of Canada
    Andrew McDermott
    Public Health Agency of Canada
    Ontario and Nunavut Region
    Lori Murphy
    Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion
    Dipika Damerla
    Minister's Office
    Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion
    Julie Rosenberg