Heart Healthy Children & Youth is the Heart and Stroke Foundation's response to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, inactivity and other lifestyle choices that are putting Saskatchewan children at risk. This is a province-wide initiative aiming to inspire individuals, families, communities, businesses and governments to take collective action to help children become more physically active, eat healthier foods and be smoke-free.
Canadian children may be among the first generation to have a shorter less healthy lifespan than their parents. Childhood obesity has tripled in the past 25 years and 29.1 per cent of Saskatchewan children are considered overweight or obese. At the same time, children are less active. According to Active Healthy Kids Canada, only 15 per cent of Saskatchewan children meet recommended levels for physical activity. And smoking rates among Saskatchewan youth are significantly higher than elsewhere in Canada, even among children as young as grade six.
"Childhood obesity is a growing concern in Saskatchewan,” Health Minister Don McMorris said recently at the media launch of Heart Healthy Children & Youth. “The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s strategy coordinates well with the province’s recent commitment to a federal/provincial/territorial endeavour tackling this issue."
Heart Healthy Children & Youth will focus on supporting individuals, groups and organizations which are planning or already at work in areas related to healthy eating, physical activity and tobacco reduction. The program’s Community Action Coordinators will offer tools, information, and expertise; and will help provide linkages, so that community-level groups can learn and share from each other. By connecting communities, a small program can be part of a much bigger movement towards improving health.
Any group or organization in Saskatchewan working to make a healthy difference in their community, may apply for a My Healthy Community Grant.