In this column last year, I highlighted international, national, and provincial declarations of increased commitments to health promotion and disease prevention. I posed the question, are we really ready, finally, to commit to prevention and the preservation of health? While recognizing that the political machinery moves slowly, there is no evidence that the various declarations have gained any traction. This has been the case since the Lalonde Report brought the intuitive importance of disease prevention to the collective consciousness of Canadians in 1974. Such lethargy further mortgages the health of the population and the Canadian health debt continues to rise far beyond what we will ever be able to afford to repair or pay back. Unfortunately, informed predictions forecast the greatest consequences will be borne by our children.
On a positive note, the physical activity sector in Canada continues to make significant progress despite anemic government involvement or support. In March 2012, with leadership from HALO, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology released the first Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years (aged 0-4 years) and the world’s first Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years. Throughout 2012 the physical activity sector worked together to create Active Canada 20/20 – A Physical Activity Strategy and Change Agenda for Canada. Although the 2012 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth gave the country a failing grade for the 6th consecutive year, the Report Card theme questioning “is active play extinct?” led to the creation of a communications campaign by ParticipACTION to Bring Back Play! A national initiative targeted to health care providers called Exercise is Medicine was also launched in an effort to increase the measurement of physical activity as the 5th vital sign and the prescription of physical activity for the preservation and enhancement of health.
Through research, leadership, knowledge translation, partnerships, training and education, and advocacy HALO will continue to promote and preserve healthy active lifestyles while managing and treating childhood inactivity and obesity. The Centre for Healthy Active Living (CHAL), directed by Dr. Stasia Hadjiyannakis, is a provincial centre of excellence for the management and treatment of children and families with complex obesity, and provides HALO’s clinical research leadership. The contributions of HALO in pursuing its mission in 2012 were the most substantial to date. The size and scope of HALO’s activities have increased significantly and continuously throughout its 5-year existence. Please read through this annual report for highlights and details of our accomplishments in 2012 and visit our website to keep abreast of our work and contributions.
HALO remains indebted to the donors, contributors, researchers, stakeholders and partners who fund, facilitate, support, and synergize our efforts. To all of you, please accept our most sincere thanks.
Our annual report provides a catalogue of the activities and accomplishments made by HALO in 2012 and is intended to inform partners, stakeholders, funders, potential students and staff, and other interested parties about our group. It is available in print form upon request and on our website.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or opportunities for HALO, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Best wishes for a healthy, active 2013.
Dr. Mark Tremblay
Director, Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (HALO), CHEO-RI
Professor/Scientist, Department of Pediatrics,University of Ottawa
Chief Scientific Officer, Active Healthy KidsCanada