Healthy kids for a healthier future in Canada
Building a healthier generation
A dozen Grade 1 students jockey for space on the starting line, on their bellies. As their teacher shouts “Go!” they rise up on their arms and pull themselves forward, legs dragging behind. Laughing and wriggling, they race across the school gym. This game, Seal Crawl (adapted from Inuit traditions of Labrador), is part of HeartSmart Kids™, a classroom and family resource for grades K-6. It is aimed at establishing healthy habits that can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke for life. The program is developed and distributed free to teachers by Heart & Stroke. With the growing incidence of heart disease, stroke and related conditions in Canada, the need for prevention has never been greater. It starts with our children. The data around children’s health is alarming: on average, kids are sitting too much and moving too little to reach their full potential. They spend hours a day on screens, where they are bombarded with marketing messages for unhealthy foods and beverages. Here is what one educator says about HeartSmart Kids: “We need this resource in our community because it incorporates culture and health. It is a resource that transfers from school to community, is simple to use and easy for the students to understand. As a nurse I love this because it means anyone can use this resource with their students, even if they don't have a medical background."
Improving healthy eating and living habits for children in Canada to reduce risk of heart disease and stroke.
Providing teachers, families and kids free, fun resources and tools to educate kids on healthy living and eating habits.
After around 12 months
Goal is to increase our metrics by 10% each school year.
After around 3 years
Ideally we would like to see students use the program as they go through each grade and through repetition we will continue to see changes in mindset, as seen in the 2017 impact evaluation.
After around 7 years
Our goal is to see the kids and youth that used our program turning into healthy adults, with less risk to heart disease and stroke.
In Canada almost one in three children are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity in Canada has doubled since the 1970s, while obesity among adolescents has tripled in the last 30 years. For the first time in more than a century, children are predicted to have shorter lifespans than their parents. We know that children who eat unhealthy diets are predisposed to chronic disease in adulthood. Additionally, obesity puts children at risk for many health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression. This is why Heart & Stroke advocates for healthy public policies and empowers people in Canada to live a healthier life by providing resources and education such as the HeartSmart Kids program. Heart & Stroke is a leading national Canadian health charity dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Since 1952, we have invested over $1.55 billion in vital heart disease and stroke research which has led to a 75% decline in deaths caused by heart disease and revolutionary stroke treatments that cut deaths by 50%.
The good deed
HeartSmart Kids was designed in collaboration with Indigenous communities. It is a unique classroom and family resource that takes a wholistic approach to improving health using a comprehensive range of health topics, tools, and resources. HeartSmart Kids supports educators and youth (grades K-1, 2-3, 4-6) with a free education program including grade-appropriate resources to make an impact on students and families with the tools they need for long, healthy lives. HeartSmart Kids consists of seven modules and additional resources designed to be complementary to the health curriculum. • The Powerful Heart and Mighty Brain – education about heart and brain health • Eat Good Food – nutrition awareness • Count Your Cubes – sugary drink awareness and education • Keep Moving – physical activity and active communities • The Air We Breathe – tobacco awareness • Stop Marketing to Kids – awareness on food and beverage marketing to kids • As the Drum Beats – Indigenous health philosophies • HeartSmart Recipes – healthy recipes
Number of inhabitants
Gross domestic product per capita per year
Placed 9th out of 189
Human Development Index
60% of Canadian adults are overweight. In Canada almost one in three children are overweight or obese.
About the organization and further information
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Caritas Gemeinschaftsstiftung: Qualitätssiegel für gute Treuhandverwaltung