Public Release: 

Minister Dosanjh announces over $2.8 million for childhood obesity health research projects

Researchers doing their homework

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

This release is also available in French

OTTAWA (August 24, 2005) - As Canadian children prepare to return to school, the Government of Canada and research partners, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, are taking a new look at childhood obesity, including how to create healthy, active schools.

The Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh, Minister of Health and Dr. Alan Bernstein, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), in partnership with Sally Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, announced today an investment of more than $2.8 million to fund 13 health research projects on childhood obesity.

According to Statistic Canada's findings from the Canadian Community Health Survey, 26 percent of Canadian children and adolescents aged two to 17 were overweight or obese in 2004. Between 1978 and 2004 the obesity rate among 12-17 year olds increased from three percent to nine percent. "Childhood obesity has tripled over the past two decades," said Minister Dosanjh. "Obesity is a serious and complex issue that requires a multi-faceted approach. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting research that will help find solutions."

"We need to learn more about childhood obesity in order to provide Canadian children with the opportunity to become healthier adults," said Dr. Bernstein. "This CIHR-led initiative demonstrates our commitment to Canada's children and will deepen our knowledge and understanding of obesity, ensuring that all of us, including governments, our school system and families are able to make evidence-based decisions to help prevent childhood obesity."

"We're looking at the first generation that could start developing heart disease in their 30s," said Sally Brown. "That's why we need to focus on what contributes to childhood obesity and how to develop programs, including school-based programs, to tackle this critical issue."

Examples of projects announced today include:

  • Dr. Patti-Jean Naylor (University of Victoria) and Dr. Heather McKay (University of British Columbia) are evaluating the effectiveness of the provincial dissemination of the Action Schools! BC model. This research will help us develop effective physical activity and healthy eating programs for schools that work; and

  • Dr. Laurent Legault (Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC) is exploring the influence of mentorship on enhancing the physical activity behaviour and health of overweight and obese youth through a program called "Mentors-in-Motion of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Montreal".


    The Childhood Obesity Initiative was launched in 2004 by CIHR's Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes, in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and CIHR's Institutes of Population and Public Health, Human Development, Child and Youth Health, and Gender and Health.

    The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. Its objective is to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to close to 10,000 health researchers and trainees in every province of Canada.

    CIHR's Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes supports research to enhance health in relation to diet, digestion, excretion, and metabolism; and to address causes, prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, support systems, and palliation for a wide range of conditions and problems associated with hormone, digestive system, kidney, and liver function.

    The Heart and Stroke Foundation ( is a leading funder of heart and stroke research in Canada. The Foundation's mission is to improve the health of Canadians by preventing and reducing disability and death from heart disease and stroke through research, health promotion and advocacy.

    CIHR Media, CIHR, Communications, (613) 941-4563
    Adèle Blanchard, Office of Minister Dosanjh, (613) 957-0200
    Jane-Diane Fraser, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (613) 569-4361, ext 273

    Ce document est également disponible en français.

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