Brescia participates in community effort to bring good nutrition to Francophone children in Ontario

June 10 , 2010

healthy_kids

London, ON – Brescia University College contributed its expertise  in nutrition as part of a joint project led by the French Health Network of  Southern Ontario/Réseau franco-santé du Sud de l’Ontario to promote the health  of Francophone children in Central and Southwestern Ontario.

The “healthy lifestyle education kit” was introduced on June  4, 2010 at Académie de la Tamise, a French-language elementary school in London, as part of a pilot project aimed at maintaining  and improving health and well-being of children in the Francophone region of  Central and Southwestern Ontario.

Canadian  children are not escaping the obesity epidemic. According to a report published  in 2007 by Health Canada,  in 1978-9, 15 per cent of children were overweight or obese, whereas in 2004,  obesity affected more than one quarter of children. This increased incidence of  overweight/obesity in children has pushed our communities to pay special  attention to the problems of unhealthy eating and inactivity, which contribute  to the development of obesity, and to find ways to foster the learning of  healthy eating habits and safe physical activity early in childhood.

Experts in nutrition and physical activity have worked since  October 2009 on the creation of the education kit, which was produced as part  of a pilot project at the French-language preschool centre, La Ribambelle. Dr.  Isabelle Giroux, registered dietitian and professor in Brescia’s Division of Food  and Nutritional Sciences, who was the lead coordinating the nutrition component  of the kit, said this program is the first of its kind in Canada.

“The early years are an opportunity for children to acquire healthy  behaviours to favour a lifetime of healthy habits including healthy eating and regular  physical activity. It is therefore of great importance for parents and early  childhood educators to know how to promote the development of healthy habits  from the start,” Giroux said.

The kits contain information and education tools about  healthy eating, physical activity, and security, which will be shared with  children, their families, and stakeholders who access or administer daycare  services. More than 200 Francophone families with children attending the La  Ribambelle child care centres will receive the kit, giving parents the  opportunity to set a healthy example for their children.

The Réseau franco-santé du Sud de l’Ontario is working to  improve access to French health services in Central and Southwestern Ontario by  bringing stakeholders in the community together. This pilot project was carried  out in partnership with the La Ribambelle child care centre, Brescia University  College, the University of Western Ontario, Collège Boréal’s London campus, the  Middlesex-London Health Unit, the London Intercommunity Health Centre, the  Ontario Heart and Stroke Foundation, the London Regional Community Centre, and experts  in the field of nutrition and physical activity. It was funded by the Public  Health Agency through Société santé en français (SSF).

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Brescia University College, Canada’s premier women’s university college, is  affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. The 1,100 women registered  as either full or part-time students at Brescia  study a wide variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods &  Nutrition in an empowering,  compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating environment. Degrees are  granted by Western. The Catholic   College welcomes students  from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more current and archived news,  a listing of faculty experts, and photos please visit our Online Media Room at http://www.brescia.uwo.ca/media/index.html

For  more information, please contact:

Dr. Isabelle Giroux                       Phone: 519.432.8353, ext. 28255                       E-mail: igiroux@uwo.ca