SickKids Foundation

SickKids Foundation

May 01, 2014 12:00 ET

Seventy-Three Per Cent of Canadians Think Children's Lifestyles Are Not as Healthy Today as Compared to Their Own Childhood

Third annual SickKids Healthy and Happy campaign focuses on healthy active living for kids

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 1, 2014) - Children today may be the first generation in our history to have shorter lifespans than their parents. And, according to a national opinion poll conducted by SickKids Foundation, the 2014 SickKids Healthy and Happy Pulse Check Survey, 73 per cent of Canadian adults are worried that today's youth aren't as healthy and active as when they were children. Furthermore, when asked what the most concerning health issue facing children and youth is, respondents were twice as likely to cite obesity than any other child health concern.

"Children aren't playing and being active like they used to be," says Dr. Jill Hamilton, staff endocrinologist and head of the Centre for Healthy Active Kids at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). "In fact, fewer than seven per cent of Canadian youth achieve the recommended 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per day at least six days a week. The benefits of healthy nutrition and staying active are tied to greater mental and physical health, academic performance, skill development, problem solving and social skills."

SickKids Foundation today announced the launch of its third annual Healthy and Happy campaign to build awareness of pressing children's health issues and the need for community support to further research and patient care. This year's campaign aims to raise awareness of the critical role that prevention plays in providing children and youth with the best possible opportunities to lead longer, healthier and happier lives.

The month-long education and awareness campaign kicked off with a panel discussion featuring SickKids experts. Topics included the science of exercise, sports and concussions, diabetes, sleep disorders, self-esteem and nutrition, and how social conditions can affect long-term health. The City of Toronto also issued a proclamation today declaring May SickKids Healthy and Happy month.

Canadians' Perceptions of the State of Children's Health

According to the 2014 SickKids Healthy and Happy Pulse Check Survey, as compared to their own childhood:

• 78 per cent of adults believe children today are getting less exercise

• 65 per cent say they have poorer eating habits

• 59 per cent feel they are getting less nutritional value from their diet

• 67 per cent of parents of children 18 years of age or under believe children's lifestyles are not as healthy today; 76 per cent of the balance of the population feel the same

• 79 per cent of Canadians 55 years old and older think children's lifestyles today are not as healthy as compared to their own childhood.

The Centre for Healthy Active Kids at SickKids is an interdisciplinary program that integrates paediatricians, dietitians, psychologists and social workers. Recently launched, the Centre was established to address challenges in the management and prevention of childhood obesity and to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity for all children and adolescents.

"By promoting healthy lifestyles and developing prevention and intervention strategies early in life, SickKids will help build the foundation of healthy living for future generations," says Dr. Michael Apkon, President and CEO of SickKids.

The Healthy and Happy campaign aims to engage the community and allows everyone to show their support for children's health. The campaign is built on one premise - every child deserves to be healthy and happy.

"SickKids Foundation is pleased to support the third annual Healthy and Happy campaign to raise awareness of important child health issues," says Ted Garrard, President and CEO of SickKids Foundation. "During the month of May, the Foundation and many of its partners will sponsor a variety of initiatives, including the Fairchild Telethon on May 3, Meagan's Walk on May 10 and our Donor Hall celebration on May 29, in addition to other activities to engage the community in promoting healthy active living for kids."

Ways to support Healthy and Happy during the month of May:

Visit www.healthyandhappy.com/ to learn more about all the ways to get involved and support SickKids including:

• Taking the How To online quiz and getting tips on how to lead a healthy active lifestyle. For every question answered correctly, RE/MAX will donate $1 to SickKids. If participants share the quiz to Facebook, Twitter or by e-mail, RE/MAX will add another $1 per share, up to a total of $15 per person, up to $25,000.

• Registering for The Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure Walk happening on September 27, 2014.

• Participating in one of the more than 55 registered community fundraising events throughout Ontario.

• Supporting one of the 37 Healthy and Happy corporate partners by visiting a participating location, where a portion of proceeds supports the campaign. Look for the Healthy and Happy blue icon in store windows.

• Giving a Get Better Gift to honour moms for Mother's Day, such as Games for All Ages, which play a vital role in helping to keep children active while in hospital.

• Making a donation to SickKids Foundation through the Fairchild Telethon on Fairchild TV, presented by Shiu Pong Group of Companies, on May 3 from 8:50 to 10:20 p.m.; or through Believing in Heroes, a television special about SickKids patients, airing on CTV on May 31 from 7 to 9 p.m.

About SickKids Foundation

Established in 1972, SickKids Foundation raises funds on behalf of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and is the largest charitable funder of child health research, learning and care in Canada. Philanthropy is a critical source of funding for SickKids - one of the world's foremost paediatric health-care institutions. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, SickKids Foundation made an investment of $92.6 million in children's health, a direct result of community and corporate support. For more information, please visit www.sickkidsfoundation.com.

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