News Release: The World’s Largest Sandbox returns to Ottawa’s Sparks Street

The Sandbox Project aims to improve health outcomes for Canadian children

OTTAWA, September 19th, 2018 - Canada’s leaders are playing in the sandbox to build a healthier generation of Canadians. On Wednesday, Canadian Members of Parliament, NGO’s, families and industry professionals teamed up to build sandcastles at the World’s Largest Sandbox event on Sparks Street in Ottawa. Hosted by The Sandbox Project, the World’s Largest Sandbox event aims to raise awareness of the importance of collaborating and investing in child and youth health issues.

“This annual event honours the work of the individuals and organizations who are working tirelessly to move the dial on Canadian child and youth health outcomes,” said Christine Hampson, President and CEO of The Sandbox Project. “But it’s also about recognizing that we have a long way to go. As a country, we need to work better together to support the health, safety, and well-being of kids in all areas of Canada.” 

Playing together in a friendly sandcastle competition were Ottawa elementary school students, representatives of the media, corporate Canada, child and youth health organizations, and Members of Parliament, including Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, MP for Simcoe-Grey and founder of The Sandbox Project. Also spotted in the sandbox were:

  • Senator Colin Deacon

  • Kerry Diotte, MP (Edmonton Griesbach)

  • The Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

  • Rosemarie Falk, MP (Battlefords—Lloydminster)

  • Carol Hughes, MP (Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing)

  • The Hon. Peter Kent, MP (Thornhill)

  • Mike Lake, MP (Edmonton-Wetaskiwin)

  • John Nater, MP (Perth-Wellington)

  • The Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

  • Jati Sidhu, MP (Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon)

The gigantic Sandbox structure was built through in-kind donations and hard-working volunteers from Coco Paving, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America Local 93 and Lafarge. Fruit and yogurt snacks were provided for participating children by McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada.

Supporters of The Sandbox Project include TELUS, the AstraZeneca Young Health Program, Dream Unlimited and 65 King East - A Carttera Development.

Photos of the event are available online by following @SandboxCanada and #OTTsandbox.

About The Sandbox Project

The Sandbox Project is a national registered charity working to improve the health and wellbeing of Canadian children and youth by fostering education, sharing knowledge and resources and developing policy through private-public collaborations. As an umbrella organization, Sandbox provides strategic leadership, facilitates collaboration and drives innovation among like-minded, child-focused organizations within Canada’s child and youth health arena.

For Further Information, please email us.

Household cleaners may cause obesity in young children

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Source: AllerGen Network News

Killing germs around the house may have an impact on young childrens’ waistlines.

The connection? The infant gut microbiome, according to a study led by AllerGen investigator Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj (University of Alberta).

“Infants living in households where disinfectants are used at least weekly are twice as likely to have higher levels of the bacteria called Lachnospiraceae at three to four months of age," observes Dr. Kozyrskyj. “Those same children have a higher body mass index (BMI) at three years of age, compared to children not exposed to frequent home use of disinfectants as infants."

The finding is more than an association, she adds: "Our ‘mediation’ statistical analysis suggests that a gut microbiome enriched with Lachnospiraceae early in infancy was likely directly responsible for children becoming overweight or obese.” 

The study also found that infants in households that use eco-friendly cleaners had decreased odds of becoming overweight or obese, though the reasons for this difference remain uncertain.

Reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), these findings are based on an analysis of data from 757 children participating in AllerGen’s CHILD Study

Webinar: Girl-specific health promotion

Integrating Curriculum on Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Substance Use into Girls’ Programs

Thursday, September 13, 2018 at 1:00pm ETD / 10:00AM PDT / 11:00am MDT / 12:00pm CDT / 2:00 pm ADT / 2:30 NDT

The Presenters

  • Nancy Poole, Director, Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health
  • Marbella Carlos, Project Officer, Girls Action Foundation

Join Girls Action Foundation and the Centre of Excellence for Women's Health for part two of their Health Promotion for Girls webinar series and the release of the new Health and Wellness curriculum guide developed by Girls Action Foundation.

The webinar will focus on the “what?” of integrating health promotion into girls empowerment groups, and share ideas on how facilitators of girls' groups might integrate the new guide into their programs.

Girls Action Foundation and the Centre of Excellence for Women's Health welcome all individuals and groups who are interested in girls’ group programming and girls' health and wellness overall.

Register for the webinar

Instagram promotes positive attitudes towards breastfeeding

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Source: AllerGen Network News

AllerGen investigator Dr. Meghan Azad (University of Manitoba) met AllerGen Highly Qualified Personnel Alessandro Marcon (University of Alberta) at AllerGen’s 2016 Research Conference in Vancouver, BC.

Their encounter catalyzed a unique research project that explored the question of whether or not Instagram users are building communities of support around women who breastfeed.

The answer, the researchers found, is “yes”! 

Analyzing more than 4,000 images and 8,000 comments posted on Instagram using popular breastfeeding-related hashtags, they found that the platform was used to create supportive networks for new mothers to share their experiences with breastfeeding. Discussions were overwhelmingly positive with virtually no hostile content.

Their paper, “Protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding on Instagram,” was published in Maternal and Child Nutrition in August 2018.

The researchers suggest that Instagram could potentially offer “new avenues and opportunities to ‘normalize,’ protect, promote, and support breastfeeding more broadly across its large and diverse global online community.” This, in turn, could help improve breastfeeding rates by changing perceptions and building supportive communities for breastfeeding moms.