Childhood Obesity - Funded Projects 2009


Working upstream: Effecting healthy children through neighbourhood design by Nazeem Muhajarine and Cordell Neudorf from the University of Saskatchewan
This research offers a fresh Canadian opportunity to create new insights on how urban design impacts children's physical activity. Muhajarine is partnering with the City of Saskatoon, Saskatoon Health Region, and local school divisions to study the built environment - physical structures like roads and bike paths, the location of parks, playgrounds and other amenities - as well as neighbourhood safety factors and municipal bylaws to determine their impact on children's behaviour. This project will not only create new knowledge but will support local decision-making and inform the development of new neighbourhoods that encourage physical activity.
Awareness, Use and Impact of the Children's Tax Credit by Barbara Von Tigerstrom from the University of Saskatchewan
Participation in physical activity is known to reduce children's risk of being overweight or obese, but only 21% of Canadian youth meet international guidelines for physical activity. One way of increasing physical activity is by creating incentives through the tax system, such as the Children's Fitness Tax Credit (CFTC) recently implemented in Canada. Factors that influence the success of this measure are public awareness, use of the program, and its impact on decisions about participation in physical activity. This project will explore these issues.
Implementing a web-based survey to assess food intake and physical activity in Cree school children by Rhona Hanning from the University of Waterloo
An innovative web-based school survey of Aboriginal students in Grades 6 to 10 will assess and monitor eating and physical activity. The survey of eating habits will record consumption of traditional foods versus "western" foods; meal patterns (with whom and where students eat); as well as activity, food knowledge and eating preferences. The information will be used to partner with the five First Nations communities along the Western James Bay coast to adapt existing community programs (e.g., school snacks/ breakfast, greenhouse, recreation programs), develop new ones, and evaluate them. Eventually, the researchers will produce a survey template for dissemination to other Aboriginal communities across Canada.
Understanding the environmental influences that guide changes of behaviours among overweight/obese adolescents and their families; by Louise Masse, Jean Pierre Chanoine and Josie Geller of the University of British Columbia and the Child Family Research Institute
As the Internet plays such a large role in the daily lives of adolescents, researchers are exploring the potential of online programs aimed at changing lifestyle behaviours of overweight and obese teens. This study will try to better understand the motivations behind the adolescents' choices to ignore or follow the directions, by analyzing the role of families, peers and school. The results will provide greatly needed information that will be used to improve how effective these programs are with teens.
Preventing childhood obesity: early intervention during pregnancy and first year post-partum for overweight and obese women by Michelle Mottola from the University of Western Ontario
Michelle Mottola and her team will work during the pregnancy to help prevent excessive pregnancy weight gain, high blood sugars in the mother and to promote a healthy lifestyle. With an intervention program that includes healthy food choices and increased physical activity during pregnancy and in the early period after delivery, the team will promote healthy family living. The results will emphasize disease prevention early in life to reverse the trend of childhood obesity.