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The Healthy Kids Community Challenge is all about helping Ontario kids make healthy choices. Niagara is one of 45 communities across the province chosen to be a part of this special project. That means new ideas and programs are coming to our community - things that make it easier for kids to be active and eat healthier. These are the keys to good health as our children grow up and become adults.

With $1.125M in funding, partners from different sectors will be joining forces to deliver interventions focused on one specific theme every nine months.

Ontario's Healthy Kids Community Challenge (The Challenge) is a community-led program where partners from different sectors work together to implement activities to reduce and prevent childhood overweight and obesity. The Challenge is based on the EPODE (Ensemble Prevenons I'Obesite 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. The Recipient, Regional Municipality of Niagara, will be asked to implement local activities based on one specific theme related to healthy eating or physical activity every 9 months. The selection of these themes will be based on the latest and best available evidence regarding the risk and protective factors that are known to lead to, or prevent, childhood overweight and obesity. As a selected community to participate in and support The Challenge, also referred to as the Project, the Recipient will adhere to the following guiding principles:

  • Focus on healthy kids, not just healthy weights. Strategies targeting protective factors for healthy weights - including improving nutrition and increasing physical activity -will benefit all children, regardless of weight status.
  • Focus on positive health messages and not on programs or messages that could increase bias or stigma around weight.
  • Recognize that healthy kids live in healthy families, schools and communities.
  • Support health equity through interventions at the population-level and by targeting at-risk populations.

In addition to the Maximum Funds, the Province may also assist the Recipient through the provision of various supports for the Project. These supports include, but are not limited to, communication tools, training and assistance with evaluation. The purpose of these supports is to assist the Recipient and its local partners to plan and deliver community activities as part of The Challenge. The additional supports are within the discretion of the Province and separate from the Funds, which will remain unaffected if the Recipient receives additional supports from the Province related to The Challenge.

Project Goal and Objectives

The Recipient will develop and implement programs, policies and supports through community-led planning and action to contribute to the achievement of the following goal and objectives of The Challenge:

Goal: To reduce the prevalence of and prevent childhood overweight and obesity in The Challenge communities.

Objectives:

  • To improve the conditions within communities participating in The Challenge by creating supportive environments to enable healthy behaviours in children, and related support behaviours in their parents.
  • To contribute to the evidence on the effectiveness of centrally-coordinated, community-based interventions to improve healthy weights and weight related behaviours.
  • To increase community capacity to plan, implement and evaluate sustainable health interventions at the community level.
  • To improve community collaboration and coordination on promoting healthy childhood weights, through the development and mobilization of multi-sectoral community partnerships.
  • To increase the proportion of children reporting recommended levels of specific health behaviours targeted by The Challenge.
  • To increase the proportion of parents in The Challenge communities who engage in parental support behaviours and reduce the proportion who perceives barriers to supporting child health behaviours.
  • To increase awareness of and participation in The Challenge.

Scope of Project

The Recipient and its local community partners will develop and leverage new and existing programs and policies that will encourage positive behavior change in the areas that are known to be key protective factors for childhood overweight and obesity (healthy eating, physical activity). These policies and programs will also work to remove the barriers to healthy behavior change and create healthy communities and environments (e.g., schools, workplaces, homes and other community settings). All community-based programs, policies and supports planned and implemented by the Recipient and its local partners will support progress against the government's commitment to reduce rates of childhood obesity and overweight. The Recipient will participate in ongoing data collection for the purposes of Project evaluation and accountability reporting. Examples of potential performance indicators include:

  • Health outcomes (clinical metrics such as Body Mass Index);
  • Process indicators (reach, partnerships and awareness); and
  • Behavioural indicators (physical activity levels and diet and nutrition).
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