Smart Cities, Healthy Kids (Working upstream: Effecting healthy children through neighbourhood design)

Last Updated: December 17, 2013

Nazeem Muhajarine, PhD (Principal Investigator)

This research has resulted in Smart Cities, Healthy Kids, an attempt to understand whether municipal policy linked to neighbourhood built environment makes a difference in children's physical activity levels.

The Smart Cities, Healthy Kids team has been looking at how Saskatoon’s neighbourhoods have developed over time and what design elements encourage or discourage physical activity among children. They have surveyed school children about their activities and measured actual activity levels. They also interviewed some children and their parents about how they feel their neighbourhood influences their activities, and had the kids take pictures – a process called photovoice – to document what helps or hinders activities. SPHERU is conducting a sister study looking at neighbourhoods and food environment, led by Principal Investigator Rachel Engler-Stringer of the University of Saskatchewan.

Goals / Outcomes: Combining expertise, knowledge about physical activity, built environment, urban planning, public health, geography, and municipal decision-making will create new knowledge and apply this knowledge to local decision-making and new neighbourhood development. So far, the team has produced reports on the active living potential for each of Saskatoon’s neighbourhoods, and has conducted workshops for researchers. There is other information available, including fact sheets and introductory videos on the built environment and food environment studies. Related to the the project, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation provided a grant for a one-day interactive workshop, Creating Active Communities, which was held at the University of Saskatchewan in the fall of 2012. It provided an opportunity for researchers in built environment and health to exchange knowledge and ideas about built environment and research, and how it can impact children’s health, with civic and municipal stakeholders and policy makers in Saskatchewan and other Canadian provinces.

Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research Childhood Obesity Prevention and Treatment, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Health Research Foundation

Related Documents