Yesterday the UN launched a global campaign to “curb death toll from non-communicable diseases”; to put this in context visit:

With concern over the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) worldwide, the United Nations convened a high level meeting in New Yorkon September 19th to endorse a declaration on the prevention and control of NCDs. Canada, among many other countries, endorsed the United Nations declaration. NCDs – chiefly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes – now represent nearly 2/3 of global deaths, with a disproportionate number of deaths occurring in developing countries. The declaration states that “prevention must be the cornerstone of the global response to NCDs”. The Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (HALO) at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute applauds Canada’s endorsement of the declaration that positions healthy active living as the recipe required to reverse the global NCD trends.

“Canadian children and youth are less active, less fit, more obese and more sedentary than ever before” says Mark Tremblay, Director of HALO. “Inattention to this crisis to date has resulted in the mortgaging of the health of the current generation of children and youth, and the true test of the importance of the UN Declaration will be the action and investments individual countries make to preserve and promote healthy active living.”

Research shows that only seven per cent of Canadian children and youth meet the minimum physical activity requirement of sixty minutes per day of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity – and they are spending on average 8.6 hours per day completely sedentary. This has resulted in an “F” grade on each of the past five Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Cards. Statistics Canada also reports that nearly a quarter of calories consumed by Canadian children and youth come from outside the recommended food groups, approximately 60% are not getting the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, and over 80% have usual sodium intakes above the upper limits. Research by the HALO group in Kenya and Mexico is examining the impact of unhealthy lifestyle transitions on NCD development, and how the Canadian experience can be used to assist developing countries and preventing similar grades from emerging there.

The Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (HALO) is located within the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute (Ottawa, Canada) where it provides national leadership and research excellence in healthy active living for the prevention, management and treatment of obesity in children and youth. Responding to the individual, familial, community and societal call for help, the CHEO-RI made a strategic decision to create this center of excellence in healthy living and childhood obesity research. The HALO team is comprised of a multidisciplinary group of research scientists, clinicians, research staff, administrative support, graduate and practicum students, post-doctoral fellows and medical interns and residents. Working with local, provincial and national partners and stakeholders HALO has accepted the challenge to overcome the clinical and public health challenges of childhood obesity and inactivity with a mission to preserve, enhance and restore the health and wellness of our most precious resource, our children.