research and reports

2016 ParticipACTION Report Card

Canadian kids are inactive and may be losing sleep over it

ParticipACTION releases 2016 Report Card and for the first time, assigns a sleep grade. 

There are important relationships among sleep, physical activity and sedentary behaviour and new research shows that sedentary lifestyles are connected to a creeping ‘sleepidemic’ in Canadian children and youth. That is why, for the first time, the 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth assigns a grade to sleep and includes new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth. A first of their kind in the world, the guidelines outline what a healthy 24-hour period looks like for children and youth.

Telemental Health: An Approach to Addressing Mental Health Care Disparities for Children and Adolescents

Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology

Special Issue on Telemental Health: An Approach to Addressing Mental Health Care Disparities for Children and Adolescents. Kathleen Myers, MD, MPH, MS, and Jonathan S. Comer, PhD, Guest Editors

Complete special issue:

Introduction: The Case for Telemental Health for Improving the Accessibility and Quality of Children’s Mental Health Services

Obese Children Do Not Need to Increase Their Physical Activity Any More than Their Lean Counterparts Do

Traversy Gregory Peter, Chaput Jean-Philippe. Obese Children Do Not Need to Increase Their Physical Activity Any More than Their Lean Counterparts Do. Frontiers in Pediatrics 2016:

Via the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, CHEO Research Institute

The relationship between child physical activity (PA) levels and obesity has been studied extensively (1, 2). Studies have often shown that obese children and adolescents spend more time in sedentary behavior and less time in non-sedentary behavior, such as moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (3, 4). Accordingly, at least one review of cross-sectional studies examining the link between PA and obesity has found higher levels of PA associated with lower measures of adiposity (2). Some individuals may interpret these suggestions as meaning that obese children need to increase their PA levels to attain a “healthy” weight. Despite the fact that PA generally produces very modest weight loss (randomized controlled trials typically show less than 2 kg of weight loss from exercise interventions), the perception exists, among laypeople and health professionals alike, that obese individuals are lazy and need to “get off the couch” and that a lack of exercise is an important cause of child obesity (57).

Is a lack of activity really driving the difference in body composition between normal weight and obese children? It has been suggested that although obese children may move less than normal weight children, they are likely expending just as much, if not more, energy from PA due to a higher metabolic cost of movement (they have a larger body to carry) (5). Additionally, PA levels are extremely low among normal weight and obese children alike, whereas PA remains important for overall physical and mental health (8). This suggests that PA needs to be promoted in all children regardless of weight status, and the view that obese children need to be more targeted for extra PA because of their weight is misleading. We intend to explore this suggestion further and suggest that although patterns of PA may differ between overweight/obese and normal weight children, these are not sufficient to explain differences in weight status. Alternative interpretations of the relationship between obesity and PA are also discussed.

Read the full article here.

New UNICEF report: Canadian children at back of the pack among rich nations

Well-being of most vulnerable children at risk if widening gaps are not addressed

TORONTO, April 14, 2016 – A new report released today by UNICEF highlights the inequalities in child well-being in the world’s most affluent nations, including Canada. While progress in reducing child wellbeing gaps has been modest overall, Canada’s children are at the back of the pack, ranking in the bottom third when measured against other rich nations.

Obesity in Canada: A Whole-of-Society Approach for a Healthier Canada

Obesity in Canada: A Whole-of-Society Approach for a Healthier Canada was released by the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology in March, 2016. 

Report highlights
Full text report

Aboriginal population

From the news release:

Urgent Action Needed to Fight Rising Obesity Rates in Canada
There is an obesity crisis in this country. Canadians are paying for it with their wallets — and with their lives.

But there is hope.

An extensive study conducted by the Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology charts a course to a leaner, healthier future.

Over the course of nearly two dozen meetings, the committee heard expert testimony from a range of Canadian and international stakeholders including individuals representing health and exercise professions, diet and health research sectors, food and beverage industries, Aboriginal groups, health charities, as well as the federal government.

The committee’s findings show the vast scope of this epidemic:

  • Each year 48,000 to 66,000 Canadians die from conditions linked to excess weight;
  • Nearly two thirds of adults and one third of children are obese or overweight; and
  • Obesity costs Canada between $4.6 billion and $7.1 billion annually in health care and lost productivity.

This report describes an innovative, whole-of-society approach to address this important issue — and urges bold but practical steps that can and must be taken to help Canadians achieve and maintain healthy weights.