June 6, 2019 – Quebec City, Quebec – Public Health Agency of Canada
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including being physically active and eating healthy foods, plays an important role in supporting the well-being of Canadians and helping to prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. From early fall to late spring, children and youth in Canada have opportunities to participate in physical activity and to learn healthy living habits while at school. However, once the school year ends, it can be difficult to ensure that these healthy habits continue throughout the summer.
Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced more than $1.9 million over four and a half years to support the Fondation Tremplin Santé’s Shape Up program, which will work with summer camps across Ontario and Quebec to provide tools and resources to help promote healthy living habits to children and youth attending camps. This four-year initiative aims to improve the physical activity levels and eating habits of up to 180,000 children and youth between the ages of 5 and 16 in up to 900 summer camps.
Shape Up will promote learning about physical activity and healthy eating through videos, digital content, activities and games. It will include training activities and resources for up to 7,000 camp workers to help increase their knowledge and integration of physical activity and healthy eating into daily camp activities. The program will include training workshops for camp organizers and staff-including managers, chefs, coordinators and counsellors-as well as thematic webinars to help support positive changes in camp environments where healthy living programming is offered.
“Play is an important part of childhood. When play can also include the promotion of physical activity and healthy eating, we make healthy living a part of the everyday life of a child. I’m pleased that we’re supporting projects like Shape Up, which help establish healthy habits in a fun and stimulating environment for children and youth, and set up our future generations to lead healthier lives.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
“The Shape Up Program has been in existence for over five years thanks to the support of generous donors. Today, this contribution from the Government of Canada is acknowledging the relevance and quality of our preventive health program, which has already reached more than 170,000 young people at day camps and summer camps. The Program primarily targets young people, who greatly need to be made aware, early in life, about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Thank you to the Public Health Agency of Canada for supporting our development for the benefit of a greater number of young people in Quebec, Ontario and elsewhere in the country.”
Founding President, Shape Up Program
Shape Up is funded through the Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention – Multi-Sectoral Partnerships (MSP) program. The MSP program leverages investments with multi-sectoral partners to develop and implement interventions that promote healthy living and prevent chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, by focusing on common risk factors such as unhealthy eating, physical inactivity and tobacco use.
In Canada, the vast majority of Canadians are not active enough. At least 8 out of 10 adults, and just over one-third of children and youth, do not meet the recommended Canadian guidelines for physical activity.
Many of the campers who will participate in this programming are youth from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, making it more likely that they face challenges when it comes to developing healthy eating habits and meeting recommended physical activity levels.
The new Canada’s Food Guide encourages Canadians to eat vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich foods, and promotes life-long healthy eating habits by encouraging people to cook and prepare healthy foods at home.