Healthy Living App gives smart rewards

What motivates you to get fit? How about earning points that you can redeem against travel and groceries? (Yes please!)

The federal government has announced a new app that will reward Canadian for making healthier lifestyle decisions.

Carrot Rewards

Read the full story here >

Site Visit to Kootenay Family Place

Michele travelled to Castlegar for a Healthy Together site visit at the end of June. She was greeted by Laura Munoz (Evaluator) at the airport and taken to the Kootenay Family Place for the final session of Healthy Together for 7-12 year olds.

Kootenay Family Place Veggies

A real highlight of this visit was the use of fresh vegetables to greet children and provide their after school snack. The day at hand was an exciting experience for the families because the activity for the day was skateboarding. Two Healthy Together staff were skilled and passionate about this sport and brought their enthusiasm to the group. They provided safety gear and skateboards for anyone that wanted to try this activity. Staff led the participants in the basics and supported them to try their hand at this sport. For some this sport was already a part of their fitness routine because Castlegar has an active skateboard park program in place, for others it was a first experience at this sport. This group demonstrated a great use of local talent and the promotion of local, free community activities as a physical activity option. Physical Activity, like people, comes in a variety of shapes and styles. Skateboarding was offered twice in the same session to provide two activity breaks which was very needed by this active group of youth. Castlegar will enjoy a summer of skateboard activity and now maybe a few more families will be using the service and joining their children for a fun day at the park.

Kootenay Family Place Making Sushi

Following the activity everyone had great fun trying their hands at making sushi!

Smartphone Apps for Healthy Living

In 2014 Dr Petrella and his research team,  along with Dietitians of Canada, developed two new smartphone apps which aim to support Canadians to lead a healthier lifestyle. The apps focus on physical inactivity and unhealthy diet.

HealtheSteps app: Improving physical activity and fitness levels; reducing sedentary time.

HealtheSteps app

The app gives you everything you need to get more active – built in fitness test, personalized exercise prescription, goals, tracking, heart rate monitor and a virtual coach to keep you motivated. Perfect for beginner who want to get more physically active as well as more experienced exercisers looking for an evidence based approach.

eaTracker app: Improving overall nutrition and healthy eating behaviours.

eaTracker app

Developed by Dietitians of Canada, you can use eaTracker to check your food and activity choices, analyze your recipes and plan your meals. Sign up to set goals and track your progress.

News from Halifax

Have a look at what is going on in the Halifax, NS area…this is a fellow Innovations Strategy Project, The Ecology Action Centre, doing great work in the Atlantic region.

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The Our Food Project present some of the highlights of their year‘s work.

Canadian kids get D- for Physical Activity

Some of you may have seen the 2015 ParticipACTION Report Card (formerly the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card)…it seems Canadian children are not doing well in the physical activity department. The actual grade given was a D-

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This is just another reason to think about running Healthy Together in your community to support parents and children to learn about and develop healthier living practices that include physical activity as well as healthy cooking, eating and lifestyle information.

The physical activity recommendation for children is 60 minutes of heart pumping activity a day. That might seem like a lot but keep in mind this can be broken into smaller blocks of time. Let’s think about 15 minutes of activity four times a day. You might take a fast walk around the block …just 15 minutes of heart pumping walking…maybe running. Later on you might decide to play Frisbee golf and to get your heart rate going you can move quickly as you go fetch the Frisbees for the next turn…high knee stepping, skipping, running or galloping will increase the heart rate as you move. Two 15 minute blocks to go. Try 15 minutes of clothes peg tag. Go to a park so you have wide open spaces. Maybe you end your day with a hike and mix it up between 5 slow and 5 fast paced minutes of hiking. Do this for 30 minutes and you have added your final 15 heart pumping round of activity.

As adults we need 150 minutes of heart pumping activity a week…how many of those minutes can you achieve with your children so you can both benefit from being physically active while also enjoying time together as you create healthy habits.

How can you get you support your children to get 60 minutes of heart pumping activity a day?

If this is a new idea for you just start with 15 minutes a day and build up a strong habit slowly…take a month and add 15 minutes a week.

Read the full report here.

The Healthy Together Team wishes you a great physically active day…any way you decide to get there!

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Site visit to Saskatoon

Michele recently travelled to Saskatoon to visit Catholic Family Services (CFS) as they ran Healthy Together for students in the work place skills class at a local high school. I was warmly greeted by the people and the city of Saskatoon.  Everyone was very friendly and the sun was shining along the beautiful walking paths beside the Saskatchewan River. Catholic Family Services is housed in a multi-service agency building next to a large park. One of the highlights of this trip was the partnership with the school district. The Healthy Together team from CFS joined forces with the staff and students at the high school to run the program during school hours as part of the curriculum and the enthusiasm from students for cooking and trying the foods they prepared.

Healthy Together Program Staff members

Healthy Together Program Staff members

Michele sampled the chicken strips, with honey mustard sauce, and also enjoyed a side of yam fries. The youth were enjoying their time in the kitchen home economics room but all agreed the sunshine and ovens made for bit of a hot cooking space as they learned how to make healthy chicken strips and dip.  Staff and students really enjoyed the food they made. After a lunch break the youth joined together for the learning of the day and finished up with some physical activity and Frisbee in the school outdoor space.

Canadian Obesity Conference

Michele and Anima recently took a trip to Ontario for the 4th Annual  Canadian Obesity Conference in Toronto. They presented early findings and lessons learned from the Healthy Together Program as part of a 6 presentation panel. Approximately 70 people attended this 1.5 hour session.

Both Anima and Michele had the opportunity to attend workshops on this day and participate in some lively discussions related to Industry and Obesity Prevention which considered public and private partnerships. They also attended a workshop session that highlighted the success of Comprehensive School Health (CSH) in improving diets, activity levels, and body weights. The successful program was recognized as a “best practice” and has inspired the development of the Alberta Project Promoting active Living and healthy Eating (APPLE) Schools. The project includes 10 schools, most of which are located in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. The present study examines the effectiveness of a CSH program adopted from a “best practice” example in another setting by evaluating temporal changes in diets, activity levels and body weight. This was a very inspiring presentation that left everyone feeling very hopeful about the positive impact possible when teaching children and families about health, healthy eating and activity.

HT Facilitator Training Opportunities – LOI

We are excited to launch Healthy Together (HT) Facilitator Training, an innovative, asset-based family education model engaging children and youth (under 19 years of age) and their families.   Healthy Together©  is a culturally sensitive, family centered program, comprised of three age based modules (0-6y, 7-12y, 13-18y), offered through weekly group sessions. Each session provides hands- on learning opportunities for participants to gain information, skills and experiences, to support them in making healthy food choices and engaging in fun physical activities. For details on the HT program, staffing and resources, please view the HT brochure.

Healthy Together is currently being implemented in ten communities across Canada, in diverse community settings such as family resource centres, community/recreation centres, native and Aboriginal friendship centres, immigrant and refugee associations, schools, and child protection services.

We invite you to submit an ‘Expression of Interest’ to participate in the HT Facilitator Training –

  • Training is proposed between Sept to Nov 2015, in four regions of Canada – Western, Central, Eastern, and Atlantic (dates and venues to be decided).
  • Training costs are covered by the Healthy Weights for Children (HWC) Project  -including one night accommodation, meals & workshop material (HT Facilitator Toolkit) for all participating facilitators.
  • Travel allowance will be provided as needed. Following successful completion of training by their staff, selected organizations may be offered limited financial support to implement HT program.
  • Please note – staff time to participate in the training is the responsibility of the individual/organization.

Please include in your EOI submission–

1.    Name of organization and contact person authorizing your participation in the training,
2.    Identify the training region closest to you, and indicate your community setting (as described above),
3.    Describe your experience facilitating community based groups and/or working with children, youth and families.

We request you to submit your EOI to Helen.mills@thebridgeservices.ca by June 8, 2015.

Selected individuals/organizations will be contacted within three weeks of the closing date. Thank you for your time and interest in the Healthy Together program, and we look forward to receiving your EOI.

Download HWC EOI Invite

Site visit to Temiskaming, ON

Anima and Michele travelled to Temiskaming Shores, ON for a site visit to watch the implementation of Healthy Together with the 13 to 18 age group. They enjoyed the beautiful scenery and Lake Temiskaming views and could see Quebec across the water.

Healthy Together Temiskaming

They joined elder Marilyn, Melissa, Kelly, Brenda, Kalene, and Stephanie (Service Connector), Ivonne (Student) and Casandra (student) at The Keepers of the Circle in the community of New Liskeard.  This organization entered into a partnership with their local high school and ran the program twice a week during lunch hours. Youth walked to the Centre on program days and were met by staff and practicum students as they learned about healthy eating and activity together.  The service connector is employed by The Keepers of the Circle and funded by the District of Timiskaming Social Service Administration board. The agency incorporated this staffing into the Healthy Together program.  A highlight of this visit was the welcoming song and drumming led by Marilyn and the practice of introducing “new foods” at each session.

Each week a new food is introduced for tasting for staff and participants to try if they are interested. We learned how to cut and serve mango and tried melorange for the first time and it was delicious (if you like cantaloupe).

Site visit to MAGMA in Moncton, NB

Michele and Helen took a trip to Moncton, NB in February for a Healthy Together site visit to Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area  (MAGMA). They kept their fingers crossed as winter storms and snow accumulation made arrival seem unlikely. They  arrived to a cold but storm free city and enjoyed a rare day of sunshine.

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Healthy Together for the 0-6 age group was on the agenda and the group itself was being offered in the local farmers market test kitchen. Families arrived and learned about fitness roadblocks and ways to include activity in everyday life. The group joined together to make  and sample smoothies. Everybody took home a smoothie maker so they could enjoy a healthy breakfast drink everyday.

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