All the Right Moves: Physical Activity Across the Life Span

On December 4th, BCAHL hosted a webinar about physical activity across the life span, highlighting how important it is to be active at every age because how we move affects our health, independence and overall well-being.

This webinar featured two innovative programs, Appetite to Play and Choose to Move.  Both of these important programs are supported through the Provincial Physical Activity Strategy, Active People, Active Places, which is designed to guide and stimulate co-ordinated policies, practices and programs in physical activity that will improve the health and well-being of British Columbians, and the communities in which they live, learn, work and play.

Presenters Jennifer Scarr and Sana Fakih kicked off the webinar with a focus on the early years (ages 0-5).  They let us know that the early years is a critical time for establishing healthy behaviours and patterns to support physical, cognitive, emotional and social development.  And that these patterns will carry over into later childhood and support lifelong health and resilience.

But it’s not easy to establish these healthy behavior patterns in today’s world with 76% of Canadian preschoolers engaging in too much screen time[i] and only 29% of 4-8 year olds eating the recommended amount of fruits and veggies a day. That’s why Appetite to Play focuses on supporting early year providers to promote and encourage physical activity and healthy eating.

Presenters Dr. Heather McKay and Christa Hoy finished the webinar with a focus on older adults, (ages 65 and older). They provided some captivating statistics that puts our population into perspective. Currently in Canada there are more people over the age of 65 than there are under the age of 15 and by 2051, 25% of Canadians will be over the age of 65.  That said, as of today, 85% of seniors do not meet Physical Activity guidelines and 90% are sedentary for 8 hours or more a day.

As Dr. McKay noted, the evidence is in about the multiple benefits physical activity provides from improving bone health, mental health, brain health, decreasing cardiovascular disease, as well as being the most powerful medication when looking at a whole host of chronic disease factors. That’s why Choose to Move, Active Aging BC’s signature program, provides and promotes more opportunities for older adults to be physically active, make social connections and enhance health and mobility.

There is so much more to learn about physical activity across the life span. Don’t worry if you missed this engaging webinar on December 4th as you can find the complete recording below.

If you would like to learn more about Choose to Move and find upcoming offerings in your area, visit www.choosetomove.info. You can subscribe to updates to be the first to know when programs are coming to your area. You can also like Choose to Move on Facebook to stay up to date.

If you are interested in becoming a referral partner or learning how to bring Choose to Move to your area, please email Christa at christa.hoy@hiphealth.ca.

Additionally, to learn more about Appetite to Play, please visit www.appetitetoplay.com and be sure to watch (and share!) their fun 1 minute promotional video: https://youtu.be/akXd-cwRmwQ

If you would like to sign up or host an Appetite to Play training event, please visit www.appetitetoplay.com/training or email atpinfo@cw.bc.ca

Thank you to our stellar speakers and to all the webinar participants.

SPEAKER PROFILES:

 

Appetite to Play:

Jennifer Scarr is the Provincial Director, Primary Care and Preventive Health with Child Health BC. In this role she is focusing on provincial initiatives related to oral health, injury prevention, healthy weights, and child and youth health and well-being indicators. Jennifer is also working on initiatives that support integrated primary and community care, specifically in the areas of asthma and diabetes.

Sana Fakih is the Provincial Lead, Early Years Health & Wellness at Child Health BC where she leads health promotion and prevention initiatives for children aged 0-5. Previously, she was the Leader of Diversity Services at Fraser Health, developing programs to increase the capacity of healthcare professionals to provide safe and equitable care to diverse communities in BC. Sana has her MPH (UBC), BEd (University of Calgary), and BSc Honours (Western University).

Choose to Move:

Dr. Heather McKay’s research program investigates health promotion and chronic disease prevention strategies to enhance health at key time points – childhood, adolescence and later life. Her research evaluates the positive role of physical activity, other lifestyle factors and the built environment on children’s health and older adult physical health, mobility and social connectedness. Through an implementation science lens, she also evaluates scale-up of effective interventions as a means to improve health on a population level. Dr. McKay is well known for building interdisciplinary teams and connecting with community partners to move research findings into action (knowledge mobilization). Dr. McKay was recently inducted as a Fellow into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, one of the highest honours within Canada’s academic community.

Christa Hoy is the Program and Evaluation Manager with the Active Aging Research Team at UBC. Her background is in human kinetics – born of a firm belief in health promotion through physical activity. She is driven by a desire to understand how evidence-based health promotion programs work in the real world and can be delivered at scale. Christa also works to translate research findings to be accessible to various audiences including stakeholders and the public. She is currently leading the evaluation of the scale up of Choose to Move, a choice-based physical activity program for sedentary older adults across BC.

[i] 2018. The ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.

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