Funding Announced for Research to Combat Childhood Obesity

For immediate release – 2009-22

Ottawa, Ontario (June 17, 2009) – Research to reduce childhood obesity received a $1.9 million boost with new funding announced today. The funding comes from a four-way partnership involving the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Rx&D Health Research Foundation (HRF), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada.The research projects aim to better understand eating and exercise behaviours and to explore new ways that Canadian children can avoid obesity or control it. Currently, more than one in four Canadian children and youth are overweight or obese, with a much greater risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. The five newly funded projects will:

– implement a web-based survey of diet and physical activity among Cree schoolchildren in the Hudson and James Bay regions (Rhona Hanning at the University of Waterloo);
– study how family, peers and school environments affect the attempts of overweight adolescents to lose weight (Louise Masse, Jean Pierre Chanoine, and Josie Geller at the University of British Columbia and the Child Family Research Institute);
– study how diet and activity changes made by overweight mothers-to-be can reduce the chances of their children becoming overweight (Michelle Mottola, at the University of Western Ontario);
– study how urban street design can lead to neighbourhoods that foster behaviours to reduce weight (Nazeem Muhajarine and Cordell Neudorf, at the University of Saskatchewan); and
– study public awareness of the federal Children’s Fitness Tax Credit as well as its use and impact on decisions about participation in physical activity (Barbara von Tigerstrom, at the University of Saskatchewan).

“Controlling obesity and the diseases related to it requires research into wellness strategies that allow individual Canadians – starting especially with our children – to better maintain their personal health through healthy lifestyles,” said Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of CIHR. “Partnerships with stakeholders play a key role in this regard, and I am very pleased to join with Rx&D Health Research Foundation, The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and Health Canada to fund these projects.”

“More and more of our children are sedentary, have too much screen time, and are eating unhealthy foods,” says Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “This imminent health crisis is preventable. We need to find solutions to address childhood obesity and help our kids before they become the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”

“Our Foundation has made reducing and preventing childhood obesity a core priority and we know that working as partners, we can accomplish much more,” says Dr. Yves Morin, Chair of the Rx&D Health Research Foundation. “We are tremendously excited about this initiative working in collaboration with our partners toward our common goal which is healthier, happier children.”

“Prevention is crucial to better health especially as it applies to our children,” said Russell Williams, President of Canada’s Research Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D). “I believe partnerships like this one are crucial to find innovative ways to combat this growing problem which is affecting the health of our children.”

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada’s agency for health research. CIHR’s mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health-care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 13,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.

The Rx&D Health Research Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support health research in Canadian academic health centres and to promote the value of health research in Canada. Founded in 1964 by Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D), the HRF applies the highest standards of scientific excellence to address health challenges of great importance to Canadian society. It accomplishes this through a longstanding tradition of establishing partnerships with the academic field and government. As one of the leading private health research foundations in the country, the HRF contributes significantly to the prevention and treatment of disease and to a better health care system.

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Further information:


David Coulombe,
Media Relations, CIHR

François Lessard,
Communications, Rx&D,

Jane-Diane Fraser,
Communications Coordinator, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
613-569-4361 ext 273

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