Between 2009 and 2011, the Ontario Health Status Report found that more than one quarter of children in Canada were overweight or obese. In 2013, the Healthy Kids Panel released its report No Time to Wait: The Healthy Kids Strategy. The panel recommended action to reduce those numbers. In response, Ontario launched a cross-government Healthy Kids Strategy and born of this strategy is the Healthy Kids Community Challenge.
Ontario’s approach focuses on the health of the whole child. A healthy weight affects not just physical health but also mental and emotional health, relationships, self-esteem and results in the classroom. Three quarters of children exhibiting unhealthy behaviours continue these unhealthy behaviours as adults. In adulthood, unhealthy behaviours increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, breast and colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, gall bladder disease and osteoarthritis.
The Healthy Kids Community Challenge means uniting communities and partners from different sectors, such as public health, education, recreation and local business to collaborate on programs that promote healthy behaviours.
Ontario’s Healthy Kids Community Challenge is a community-led program where partners from different sectors work together to implement activities to reduce and prevent childhood overweightness and obesity. Healthy Kids Community Challenge is based on the EPODE (Ensemble Prévenons l’Obesité des Enfants – Together Let’s Prevent Childhood Obesity) methodology, which is recognized by the World Health Organization as a best practice in childhood overweight and obesity prevention.