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World of wellness

Balanced approach needed to promote healthy active living

Research | Frameworks in Action

By Jeff Green

Nurturing wellness in children is about more than just being physically active; it encompasses all dimensions of health: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

This holistic perspective shapes the work of a research project in School of Human Kinetics and Recreation led by Drs. Michelle Kilborn, Erin Cameron, Erin McGowan and Linda Rohr as well as graduate students John-Ray Baird and Megan Cummings.

A research team in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation is examining healthy active living for children in Newfoundland and Labrador.
A research team in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation is examining healthy active living for children in N.L.
Photo: David Howells

Holistic focus

Their project, Healthy Active Living in Newfoundland, aims to gain a better understanding of existing provincial initiatives, programs and activities to support children and youth to be healthy and well.

The research is important. We all know the future of the province is only as healthy as the next generation.

The study reveals some interesting information regarding perceptions of healthy active living. Participants, which included stakeholders from health, education, sport and recreation communities, said that healthy active living should be holistic and focus on all dimensions of health.

More collaboration from different sectors on multiple levels would help ensure a more balanced approach to promoting healthy active living for children.

The team’s research highlights the dedication of volunteers and champions that lead programs in our communities, but it has also raised some concerns about the amount of fee-based programming, which could present financial barriers for families. They also found very little evaluation is happening to assess the success and effectiveness of existing programs in communities.

Phase 2 underway

The project provides valuable insight into how future programs and activities could positively impact the wellness of children and youth and is essential for developing new initiatives designed to support a healthy, active provincial population. Phase 2, Healthy Active Living in Labrador, is currently underway with results expected to be released by fall 2016.

The team is hoping its research will help communities create programs that focus on shaping the “whole” child—helping support the physical, spiritual, emotional and mental health of our next generation.

Funder: Recreation Newfoundland and Labrador

Co-investigators: Drs. Michelle Kilborn, Erin Cameron, Erin McGowan and Linda Rohr, School of Human Kinetics and Recreation

Graduate students: Megan Cummings, master’s student; John-Ray Baird, master’s student

This article is part of a bi-weekly collection of research profiles celebrating the contributions of Memorial researchers. Be sure to check back for future profiles.


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