In recent decades, childhood obesity has steadily increased. Today more than 25% of children and youth in Canada are overweight or obese, compared to 15% in 1978/791. To address this important issue, the Partnership and the Public Health Agency of Canada co-hosted a consultation meeting last week to identify collective actions that will reduce the growing epidemic of childhood obesity and the numerous chronic diseases linked to it. The meeting encouraged discussion across sectors and between organizations who do not often work directly together.
Based in Ottawa, the meeting brought together more than 100 experts from 80 organizations nationwide, representing all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, public health, urban planning, nutrition, Inuit and First Nations. Attendees discussed practical actions stemming from the federal/provincial /territorial framework for curbing childhood obesity that will result in healthier children and a healthier population overall.
In our work to implement Canadas cancer control strategy, the Partnership has seen many examples of how this type of collaboration can be a powerful catalyst for change.
Cancer and chronic disease prevention is a key pillar of the Partnerships work. By focusing on childhood obesity we are improving overall health and reducing the risk of serious disease in adulthood. — Jessica Hill, CEO of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
This work builds on another Partnership initiative that supports coordinated prevention efforts for cancer and chronic diseases, including a focus on childhood health and wellness. The initiative, called Coalitions Linking Action and Science for Prevention (CLASP), brings together more than 30 organizations, including disease-specific groups, health ministries and cancer agencies, to integrate research, practice and policy work on disease prevention and to accelerate action on shared priorities. It is based on the understanding that all of these organizations and agencies are implementing programs to promote healthier living and create healthier communities, and can learn from and build upon each others work. Currently seven CLASP projects are underway; these including every province and territory across the country.
Overall, the collaboration meeting generated valuable insights and identified practical actions that can be taken together. A summary report of the meeting has been developed and is available here.
1 Curbing Childhood Obesity: An Overview of the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Framework for Action to Promote Healthy Weights. Available at http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/hl-mvs/framework-cadre/intro-eng.php. Accessed March 18, 2011.