Today, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, announced funding for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute for a project that will help improve the health of expectant mothers and their unborn children.
Through the Multi-sectoral Partnerships Approach to Promote Healthy Living and Prevent Chronic Disease initiative, the CHEO Research Institute is receiving nearly $1.5 million to develop and evaluate a mobile app that will support and empower pregnant women to make healthy lifestyle choices during pregnancy.
The SmartMoms-Canada mobile app will enable expectant mothers to track their weight, physical activity levels, food intake and sleep. Personalized feedback will also help women improve their health choices or provide ways they can improve them in consultation with their healthcare provider. This will allow pregnant women to manage and reduce risk factors including excessive gestational weight gain, which can contribute to gestational diabetes and obesity – both for themselves and their unborn children.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity and healthy eating, helps to prevent chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease and plays an important role in the well-being and quality of life of Canadians. Today’s announcement highlights how the Government of Canada is working with partners to find innovative approaches to maternal health to support healthier and more active lifestyles.
- This project is funded through the Government of Canada’s Multi-Sectoral Partnership Approach to Promote Healthy Living and Prevent Chronic Disease initiative. Each year approximately $20 million is invested towards projects that address the common risk factors for chronic disease, including unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, and tobacco use.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada is investing $1.5 million in the SmartMoms-Canada project, while Dr. Adamo’s national research network is securing matched funding towards this project over five years. Partners include the Canadian Obesity Network, the CHEO Research Institute, and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Research indicates that improved maternal can prevent diabetes and other adverse perinatal outcomes.
- Mobile technologies are used by 99 percent of the Canadian population who have access to wireless network. Seventy percent of women in their childbearing years are regular smartphone users.
“The SmartMoms-Canada Application project is a great example of how technology is being developed to strategically improve maternal health. Our Government will continue supporting innovative approaches to promote healthy lifestyles for expectant mothers and to address the burden of chronic disease in Canada.”
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health
“Time in the womb is when and where babies experience the most dramatic period of growth and development which is also instrumental in determining their long term health. Today, women want pregnancy-related guidance in real-time and at their fingertips. With PHAC funding, our national team will deliver exactly that via an innovative and interactive app. Together, we’re bringing forward a personalized approach to help moms across Canada achieve better health outcomes for themselves and their newborn children.”
Dr. Kristi Adamo
Senior scientist at the CHEO Research Institute and associate professor at the University of Ottawa
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada