SPHERU and a "Healthy Start"
February 3, 2017
Recently, SPHERU was approached to collaborate with the Healthy Start/Départ Santé team as they move into the next phase of their early childhood initiative.
Healthy Start/Départ Santé is a bilingual initiative intended to encourage healthy eating and physical activity for children aged three to five. The initiative originated from a partnership of individuals and organizations that wanted to include an early years component to the Saskatoon Health Region’s in-motion program. The initiative is being implemented throughout Saskatchewan and New Brunswick and is funded in part by the Saskatchewan Community Initiatives Fund and through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Innovation Strategy “Achieving Healthier Weights in Canadian Communities” .
On Jan. 18, co-ordinators, community partners and policy makers gathered at the Healthy Start/Départ Santé Symposium in Saskatoon to share and reveal how healthy eating and physical activity have an immediate and long term impact on children into adulthood.
SPHERU director Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine was invited to deliver closing remarks at the Symposium, emphasizing on the next objectives of the initiative.
“It comes down to sustainability,” Muhajarine said. “We have to be able to sustain this. And please advocate for this, please stay engaged, please innovate and please practice what you know to be right and true.”
HSDS Phase 2 (2013-2017) implemented the initiative in more than 300 child care centres throughout Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.
As the initiative moves into Phase 3, HSDS plans to utilize SPHERU’s assistance to look at the results of the previous phase. Together, SPHERU and the HSDS team will be exploring the assessment of the HSDS knowledge, development and exchange (KDE) and partnership engagement work that occurred during the past four years. SPHERU will also be looking at the results of implementing and evaluating the initiative in supporting further dissemination.
SPHERU’s Dr. Gabriela Novotna and Dr. Muhajarine will be working with the HSDS team during this collaboration. SPHERU faculty, including Dr. Rachel Engler-Stringer had previously contributed to the nutrition assessment of Phase 2 of the HSDS initiative.
Healthy Start is led by the Réseau Santé en français de la Saskatchewan; and partnered with the University of Saskatchewan including the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, College of Medicine; College of Kinesiology; College of Pharmacy & Nutrition.
Other Healthy Start partners include the Centre de formation médicale du N-B, (Université de Sherbrooke et de Moncton, New Brunswick); Saskatchewan Early Childhood Association (SECA); the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute; Active Kids/Jeunes actifs, New Brunswick; Association des parents fransaskois (APF); ECE Colleges in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick; and the Ministries of Education and Health in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.