You are cordially invited to attend a Partnership in Research Seminar

Assessing Social Return on Investment (SROI) in health promotion: Findings from the Healthy Together© Program

WHAT:  Dr. Anima Anand, Project Lead, Healthy Weights for Children, The Bridge Youth & Family Services, Kelowna, and Ms. Stephanie Robertson, Founder & President, SiMPACT Strategy Group, Calgary & Toronto, will discuss the use of SROI to evaluate health promotion programs for scale-up.

WHEN:  Thursday, February 16, 12 – 1:00 pm PST
WHERE:  Room 129, Reichwald Health Sciences Centre, UBC Okanagan
To attend in person or via webinar
Register at:  
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC – Everyone is welcome!

Have a look at Michele Hopkins as she traveled to Bearskin and Caribou Lake for a community visit. Michele was in Thunder Bay for the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Reclaiming Our Right To Food Self-Determination meeting during the summer.

Michele joined a group of people who are committed and passionate about finding solutions that address needs in northern communities experiencing food insecurity related to high food cost, poor quality food, low food variety and difficult food growing conditions. This visit highlighted some of the conditions experienced in these communities that contribute to reduced quality of life and health outcomes related to food insecurity. The Bridge hopes to support better health outcomes by preparing and supporting northern communities to offer the Healthy Together program for families.


The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology has just released new guidelines…Research strongly shows the need for a new movement paradigm that emphasizes the integration of all movement behaviours occurring over a whole day, shifting the focus from the individual components to emphasize the whole (all physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep). This new research supports the ParticipACTION 2016 Report Card, also recently released.

24 Hour Movement Guidelines

What are the new guidelines?

The new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth encourage children and youth to “Sweat, Step, Sleep and Sit”.

For optimal health benefits, children and youth (aged 5–17 years) should achieve high levels of physical activity, low levels of sedentary behaviour, and sufficient sleep each day. A healthy 24 hours includes:

  • Uninterrupted 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5–13 years and 8 to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years, with consistent bed and wake-up times;
  • An accumulation of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity involving a variety of aerobic activities. Vigorous physical activities and muscle and bone strengthening activities should each be incorporated at least 3 days per week;
  • Several hours of a variety of structured and unstructured light physical activities;
  • No more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time;
  • Limited sitting for extended periods.
  • Preserving sufficient sleep, trading indoor time for outdoor time, and replacing sedentary behaviours and light physical activity with additional moderate to vigorous physical activity can provide greater health benefits.

The kids were enjoying some physical activity time with the fun Activity Dice game at the Healthy Together session in Kelowna. It’s a set of 3 dice – one has 6 different exercises on it (from push-ups, to toe-taps) and the other two dice were regular dice with numbers – whatever number you roll is how many reps you do of your exercise! Anything from 1-12!

Parent Place Dice Game

If you don’t have the specific activity dice like we did you could easily modify it. You could use regular games dice for the number and then either a spin wheel selector (from a board game) or even just playing cards with the activities.

You can purchase activity dice from here or here or if you’re feeling crafty there’s some details about making your own here!

The Vista Family Resource Centre serves families with children aged 0-6 living on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula. The Centre’s main site is in the town of Bonavista with outreach sites in the towns of Catalina, Port Rexton and Musgravetown. The Centre opened in 1999 and receives provincial funding through the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Programs include a prenatal support and nutrition program called Healthy Baby Club as well as a variety of play-based, family-oriented programs and parent education and support programs.

Westcoast Family Centres Society (WFC) offers intensive parenting programs to high-risk families throughout the Lower Mainland of BC. We provide Family Preservation and Reunification services, Clinical Counselling and Play Therapy, Supervised Visitation, and numerous community based programs to families who may be dealing with issues that make parenting more challenging, such as mental health issues, addictions, poverty, newcomer status, abuse, trauma, or divorce. As one of the first organizations to receive accreditation standing with the Counsel on Accreditation (COA), we are now in our 32nd year of service, with offices in Vancouver, the North Shore, the Tri-Cities and Maple Ridge. Their mandate states that “Westcoast Family Centres contribute to the healthy development of children by providing services to strengthen the relationship between children and families and between families and their communities”.

WFC_Color logo

The Froude Avenue Community Centre is a non profit facility that is dedicated to providing opportunities and resources for people of all ages and backgrounds, by developing diverse programs and service that encourages citizen involvement and a strong active community while striving to promote the social, cultural, and healthy lifestyles of its residents and visitors. The thrust of this program was, and still is, to encourage the tenants in different housing projects to become more involved in their community.The mission of Froude Avenue Community Centre is to encourage the involvement of tenants in their housing projects through the use of programs and activities implemented through the centre; to create a positive atmosphere, community spirit and co-operation; to help develop a better social environment by providing recreational, educational and social programs, as well as training and referrals.



It is April 1 and a wonderful day to start a Healthy Together program. The South Vancouver Family Place in Vancouver BC did just that…they brought together 38 families and introduced a healthy snack of hummus, pita and veggies on beautiful sunny day! Everyone was outside digging in the garden and playing in the sandbox. Many people tried hummus for the first time…some had never had chick peas before. They are going to offer Healthy Together for families in one of their play-based family support programs. We can’t wait to see what exciting activities and learning this group enjoys in the coming weeks. Here is a recipe for Hummus if you want to try making and eating this with your family;



  • 1 can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbsp sesame tahini
  • 1 tsb sea salt


  1. Open can of chickpeas and pour out some of the liquid into a cup and set liquid aside for later
  2. Pour chickpeas into a blender with the lemon juice, garlic, tahini and olive oil
  3. Blend, add salt to taste
  4. If hummus is too thick then add some of the water you set aside in step 1 and blend again until you get the right consistency
  5. Enjoy with fresh veggie sticks or pita chips


There is a fun video of a young child making this recipe here;

We have 15 new Healthy Together programs running across Canada starting today…we are very excited to enjoy the journey towards health with each of these programs.

Watch for our introductions in the next two weeks…we will tell you a little bit about each organization as we welcome everyone to the Healthy Together program.

Recently ParticipACTION revealed the most frequently asked question was, “what is moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity?”

The Healthy Together program teaches families about the importance of physical activity based on the information found in the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines . The term moderate-to-vigorous may be new for some people or you may not understand what exactly is meant by this term.

Dr. Allana Leblanc answers the question for us in her recent blog about this popular question.

She recognizes that “The question is totally valid” and she goes on to explain that:

“ – to meet Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines of 150 minutes per week, your activity has to be at least moderate intensity. And there’s pretty good evidence to suggest that higher intensities (i.e., vigorous intensity) is even better for your health. But the full answer is complicated. The short answer is that moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity is anything that:

  • Makes you breath heavy
  • Feel warm and start to sweat
  • Makes it possible, but hard to have a conversation with someone (moderate-intensity)
  • Impossible to sing out loud to yourself (vigorous-intensity)

If that’s enough guidance for you then STOP READING!

If you want a bit more information, or still don’t quite understand, read on!”

Click here to read the more in depth answer if you are interested.

Did you know that 2016 is the International Year of Pulse’s? Are you ready to take the PULSE Pledge? Go to Pulse Canada to learn more and sign up.


What is a pulse? Pulse Canada helps us with this question:

Pulses are part of the legume family, but the term “pulse” refers only to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fibre, and are low in fat. Like their cousins in the legume family, pulses are nitrogen-fixing crops that improve the environmental sustainability of annual cropping systems.

Pulses are a great tasting addition to any diet. They are rich in fibre and protein, and have high levels of minerals such as iron, zinc, and phosphorous as well as folate and other B-vitamins. In addition to their nutritional profile and links to improved health, pulses are unique foods in their ability to reduce the environmental footprint of our grocery carts. Put it all together and these sensational seeds are a powerful food ingredient that can be used to deliver the results of healthy people and a healthy planet.

Pulses come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours and can be consumed in many forms including whole or split, ground in to flours or separated into fractions such as protein, fibre and starch.

Pulses do not include fresh beans or peas. Although they are related to pulses because they are also edible seeds of podded plants, soybeans and peanuts differ because they have a much higher fat content, whereas pulses contain virtually no fat.

Have a look at this post for some great recipes including pulses!

Natalie Laframboise, Ministry of Health Senior Policy Analyst, writes a blog for Healthy Families BC that highlights the benefits and nutritional value of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables.


She says, “There’s a terrible rumour going around that canned and frozen are inferior to fresh fruits and veggies in both taste and nutrition. So I’m writing this blog to set the story straight, once and for all, fresh, frozen or canned can all be healthy choices and here’s why:” click on the link if you want to read the full story :

Guest Post written by Dana Ismail, Leah Bratvold, Anika Sukkhu, Bria Szell, and Sarah Szell 

Hi there ! We are students from Saskatchewan who want you to know that advocating can begin at any age. Follow these easy steps to making a difference in your community!

M2K team

  1. Inspiration – It begins with an idea…

When we saw what our school canteen sold to the kids and tried to make some changes to the menu, it made us realize how much companies are trying to sell unhealthy food to kids. For that reason, it is so hard to make healthy choices. In our life we are surrounded by advertisements and reminders to eat food that’s bad for us.  We were shocked about how unhealthy our world has become and this inspired us to take on this project.

  1. Educate yourself – Knowledge is power!

There are many ways to learn about a topic. Here are some of the ways we learned about Marketing to Kids:

  • Talked to experts in the field of nutrition like our public health nutritionist
  • Attended changing the menu conference
  • Started actively looking for ways companies market to kids
    • Social media and games
    • Incentives when you buy unhealthy foods
    • Placement in stores and at our local canteen
    • Sponsorship of our sports teams
    • Packaging is fun
  1. Define your goal – Continue to make new ones!

During this project, we discovered many goals we wanted to achieve:

  • make a photo voice
  • speak with people of the division board, so that our message could be heard
  • present our story nationally, so that our message would be heard more openly to others around our country

These goals have concluded that in doing this project, our main goal is to encourage others about the importance of healthy eating and healthy choices in schools and communities. We hope that the word keeps spreading about who we are, what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it, because we want to inspire others to do the same. Marketing affects everyone and if we make a difference, in coming together, we will be the change seen in the world.

  1. Power in numbers – Surround yourself with like-minded people

In the beginning, a bunch of friends all had the same idea about the junk in our schools being so bad, we partnered with our SLC (Student Leadership Council) they helped us organize a meeting with the teacher who runs the canteen. Turns out the public health unit, nurses and nutritionists agreed with us too and offered to help. Then the Heart and Stroke Foundation heard about us and since they were working on the same stuff, they asked us if we would like to do a photo voice on M2K (marketing to kids).  From there we invited like-minded community leaders to learn about our photo voice. Then we presented at the principals meeting and to lots of service groups who all thought we were doing great work.  From there we got asked to speak at the national school food conference called changing the menu. It was really great to have 450 like minded delegates, all adults!  Who knew that kids and adults from across the country all want the same thing.

  1. Present your findings

It is important to share knowledge because kids are very unhealthy. It was important to present to the principles because we need to spread awareness about unhealthy eating habits. The presentation with the school board was successful because they did make our canteen healthier. The conference in Montreal was a good learning experience, since we got to go to other presentations and learn some things we didn’t know before, which helped our knowledge on unhealthy food. For the interviews, we mostly talked about how we got started and our next steps.

  1. Facing adversary – You can’t change everyone’s view
  •  Laugh it off!
  • Educate yourself and others
  • Know your facts!
  • Small changes are better than no changes
  • Never give up

 After coming back from Montreal we have many new plans ahead for the New Year in 2016! M2K kids hope to speak to both provincial and federal government leaders in hopes of shining light on healthy eating and marketing regulations and asking them to pass some legislation to make life better for kids. We will be partnering with the Heart and Stroke foundation once again in hopes of attending Heart on the Hill Day at Parliament this spring. By presenting at this event we hope to let the leaders know that the kids of Canada want government to stop the marketing of unhealthy foods to kids across Canada. There is a possibility that we will be spreading the word even further by taping a video that could be shared with schools about the importance and effects of marketing to kids.  It will give other students an idea of how to take up the fight where they live.  We will continue to encourage others to make positive changes for healthy eating and healthy choices in schools and communities.  Coming back from the Changing the Menu Conference in Montreal we feel ready to take on the next challenge we`re faced with and feel that we can accomplish anything. Look out Canada, M2K is coming for you!