Research Laboratory on Chronic Disease Prevention
Project Description
Healthy Start is a program aiming to increase opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating in early childcare centers. It includes resources, training and tools to help directors and educators further integrate physical activity and expose preschool aged children to a greater variety of foods in their daily routine.
This project has been evaluated in more than 60 early childcare centers across Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. The project follows a randomized controlled trial design. Physical activity, eating behavior and body composition in children between the ages of 3 and 5, as well as environmental, educator and parent behavior are measured at the start and end of the school year.
Overal Objectives
  • Measure the impact of Healthy Start on physical activity levels and eating behavior in preschool aged children attending early childcare centers 
  • Increase the capacity of educators, directors and families to offer children the opportunity to be physically active and eat healthy with the help of resources based on scientific evidence.

Research Team
Principal Researchers: Anne Leis, Ph.D (University of Saskatchewan), Louise Humbert, PhD (University of Saskatchewan), Nazeem Muhajarine, Ph.D (University of Saskatchewan) and Mathieu Bélanger, Ph.D (Université de Sherbrooke). 

Co-researchers: Carol Henry, Ph.D (University of Saskatchewan), Hassan Vatanparast, MD, Ph.D (University of Saskatchewan) and Stacey Reading, Ph.D (University of New Brunswick). 

Research Assistants: Allysha Larsen, Amanda Froelich-Chow, Gabrielle Lepage-Lavoie, Sarah Gaudet, Scarlett Ewen, Rachel Engler-Stringer, Isabelle Caissie, Véronique Surette, Emilie LeBlanc and Stéphanie Ward

Students: Stéphanie Ward (PhD) and Véronique Surette (MSc) 

For more information on the project, click here: