Activity: Implementing recommendations

Now that we’ve had a chance to see how recommendations can transform analysis into action – for better or for worse – let’s work through the example of overweight, obesity and health in Canada.

Currently in Canada there are many policies and programs designed to help people achieve and maintain healthy weights, most of them focused on increasing physical activity and healthy eating. In 2005, the federal, provincial and territorial governments in Canada launched the Integrated Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy, with all three levels of government agreeing to develop policies and programs that encourage healthy eating and increased physical activity to promote healthy weights among people in Canada. The targets of the Healthy Living Strategy are, by 2015, to increase by 20 percent the proportion of Canadians who:

  • Make healthy food choices
  • Participate in regular physical activity based on 30 minutes/day of moderate to vigorous activity, and
  • Are at a “normal” body weight based on a body mass index of 18.5 – 24.9

Each of the provinces and territories has been developing and implementing its own policies and programs to meet these targets. Since we cannot explore all of these initiatives in detail, we are going to look at just a few examples in order to evaluate the extent to which they address the core concepts of sex, gender, diversity and equity. [1]

Consider the following recommendations and initiatives to increase healthy eating and physical activity. Do they address the core concepts of sex, gender, diversity and equity?

1. One provincial government has recommended the creation of a mandatory physical activity program of at least 30 minutes per day for all students in Grades 1 to 12 inclusive.

2. One community initiated an “Outside of the Box” campaign to raise awareness about the need for children, youth, and their families to be more physically active at home, at school, and in the community by reducing “screen time” in front of the television and computer.

3. The Canadian government created a food guide tailored to reflect traditions and food choices of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, as a complement to the 2007 Canada’s Food Guide. This tailored food guide has recommendations for healthy eating based on science as well as the importance of traditional and store-bought foods for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.

4. A city community health centre created the “Multicultural Girls Fitness and Healthy Living program” to engage girls between the ages of 12-18 in different types of physical activities, such as yoga, snowshoeing and paddle-boating. The program also offered girls advice on how to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives. In addition, workshops and discussions on health related topics, such as self-esteem, body image, nutrition and healthy eating, were given to encourage girls to form attitudes and develop skills that would enable them to lead healthier lives. [2]

Sources: [1] Public Health Agency of Canada. (2005). Integrated Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy; http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/hl-mvs/ipchls-spimmvs/index-eng.php; [2] http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/doh_actstrat.pdf; http://www.toronto.ca/health/pdf/pa_boh.pdf; http://www.healthyalberta.com/ActiveLiving/692.htm; http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/fnim-pnim/index-eng.php#a1; Colley. A. & Comber, C. (2003) Age and gender differences in computer use and attitudes among secondary school students: what has changed? Educational Research, 45: 155-65; http://girlsactionfoundation.ca/files/Multicultural_Girls_Fitness__Healthy_Living_Program_Model__Best_Practices_0.pdf

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