Information for Caregivers

Theme 2 - Water Does Wonders

How do I get involved

Physical activity and healthy eating resources


What children and families will gain from The Healthy Kids Community Challenge

  • Better knowledge and skills for staying active and eating well
  • Fewer barriers to healthy choices
  • Safe and supportive environments that make it easier to be active and choose healthy food
  • Closer links with the community and more chances to be involved and included

HKCC Theme 2 - Water Does Wonders 

We all know healthy eating is important for growing children. So is healthy hydration. Our community is looking for ways to make it easier for kids to choose healthy drinks more often. This theme encourages kids and families to reach for water when thirsty. 

Water is the natural choice for kids to stay hydrated and healthy. Water makes up more than half of a child's weight. They need a steady supply to keep their bodies working and growing properly.

Make water the easy choice for kids - and keep them sipping throughout the day. 

Why Water Does Wonders? 

Water is essential for life. It's the natural, healthy, and cost-free beverage choice. 

  • Water contains no sugar, calories, caffeine, or added ingredients like preservatives. It's the right choice for sipping throughout the day.
  • Drinks that contain added sugar are not a healthy choice - especially when these drinks start to replace the nutritious drinks and foods that growing children need. They add extra sugar and calories to kids' diets.
  • Researchers say that sugar-sweetened drinks are the single largest source of sugar in kids' diets. One study found that the risk of becoming obese increased by 60% for every additional sugar-sweetened drink a child consumed each day.
  • Too much sugar intake has other bad health outcomes as well. They include an increase in the number of dental cavities and a greater risk of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.

For more information about the second theme check out these resources:

What about juice and other beverages?

  • Canada's Food Guide encourages young children to drink water to quench their thirst and replenish body fluids.
  • After 2 years of age, children can include skim, 1% or 2% milk as part of their daily fluid intake and as a source of calcium and vitamin D. If a child cannot drink milk, fortified, unsweetened soy beverage is a good option.
  • Children don't need juice, offer whole fruit instead. While 100 per cent fruit juice contains some nutrients, it also has a lot of naturally-occurring sugar and calories. A piece of fruit or vegetable is a healthier choice as it contains important nutrients and fibre, and will leave kids feeling more satisfied. 100 per cent fruit juice (no sugar added) should be an occasional treat.

HKCC Theme 2 Activities across Waterloo Region

For the second theme of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge, there will be several initiatives taking place across the region to promote water as the beverage of choice for kids and families. These activities will include:

Hydration Stations

Schools and community sites where families and children spend time will be provided with the opportunity to receive hydration stations (water fountains with a bottle refilling dispenser). This initiative will increase access to free, appealing sources of water where children live, learn and play.

Connecting people to available water sources

Resources will highlight the non-profit Blue W website and smart phone application, which helps community members easily find places to fill up their reusable water bottles across the region. Other ways to highlight existing water sources may include posting water fountain signage in public spaces, or identifying them on trail markers and maps.

Communication

A local media partnership will ensure that the healthy kids messaging is shared far and wide across Waterloo Region through local radio stations, media websites, television broadcasts, and with the community cruiser at festivals and events.

Healthy Kids Video - Hockey

Community challenges

Families and organizations will have the opportunity to make gold, silver or bronze level pledges to choose, provide, and promote water as a healthy beverage choice. Local minor sports teams will be challenged to offer water and vegetables or fruit for their team snacks and rewarded for their efforts with healthy incentive packages.

Policy advocacy

The Healthy Kids Community Challenge will look at current food availability at recreation spaces and host a community forum for local decision makers to learn more about healthy eating environments and policy approaches that can support a healthy community.

Water Promotion Resources

For more information about healthy beverage choices for children, see the following links:

Beverages for Children - factsheet

The Truth about Fruit Juices and Drinks - factsheet

Sports Snacks for Kids - videos and information page

Sip Smart!â„¢ Ontario - lesson plans for teachers; resources for parents, families, and community settings

Water Works badge from BrightBites.ca - toolkit and resources for water promotion


How do I get involved

Each municipality is working with community partners to deliver unique programs that you and your children can participate in across the Region of Waterloo.

For more information on the different recreation services provided across the Region of Waterloo, please click on each municipality below:

City of Cambridge

City of Kitchener

City of Waterloo

Township of North Dumfries

Township of Wellesley

Township of Wilmot

Township of Woolwich


Physical activity and healthy eating resources

Want to get going on promoting physical activity and healthy eating in children? Here are some helpful resources...

A Position Statement from Participaction on active outdoor play states "When children are outside they move more, move often and play longer - behaviours associated with improved cholesterol levels, blood pressure, body composition, bone density, cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness and aspects of mental, social and environmental health."

There are many ways to get active outdoors and encourage play in children. Please see the following resources for ideas of outdoor games and activities:

  • Push2Play Game Finder Saskatchewan Blue Cross' Game Finder with instructions including outdoor winter fun!
  • Participaction - Bring Back Play Game generator that lets you customize your play search based on anything you want including: number of players or ages of players
  • Active For Life Canadian not-for-profit social enterprise created to help parents give their children the right start in life through the development of physical literacy.

Don't be afraid to get outside in the winter months! If you plan ahead and wear the appropriate gear, you can enjoy outdoor activities all year round. See the following information on Extreme Cold for tips on understanding winter weather warnings, and the factsheet Extreme Cold Weather for tips on how to avoid a cold related injury and what to do for different temperature ranges.

Run. Jump. Play. Every day.

We know that being active every day is essential for growing children. Many goodsnowman and child illustration things happen when our kids move more, such as: building stronger muscles and bones; improving focus and attention; promoting self-confidence; and improving coordination. Active kids are happier, they sleep better, and they do better in school.

Being active doesn't have to mean planned, structured exercise. Children are active by nature so we just need to encourage that natural urge to 'Run. Jump. Play. Every Day.'

From 'tummy time' to tag.boy skateboarding illustration

Small babies need 'tummy time' when they are awake and alert. That means  putting them on their stomachs so that they can build muscles to lift their heads, move their arms and legs, learn how to roll, and get ready to crawl and explore.

girl biking illustrationAs they grow, keep looking for ways to make it easy for your child to be active. Kids look to their parents, so show them that you like to move too. Get out for walks, dance with them and show them that you prefer taking the stairs rather than the elevator. Limit the time they spend sitting in front of a screen, and find the spaces where they can run, jump, climb, dance, swim, and bike their way to lifelong good health.

For more information see Healthy Kids Community Challenge Brochure and visit the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Healthy Kids webpage.girl doing a somersault illustration

For information on The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines and The Canadiangirl jumping illustration  Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for different age groups, please visit the following links:

Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in the Early Years (0-4 Years)

Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children (5-11 years) and Youth (12-17 years)

For tips on helping your child develop healthy eating habits and encouraging them to be physically active, please visit the following links:

Preschool (1-3)toddler illustration

Healthy Eating, Healthy Weights and Physical Activity

Feeding Your Child (1-3)

School Age (4-9)child in wheelchair illustration

Healthy Eating, Healthy Weights and Physical Activity

Feeding Your School Age Child

Youthyoung female walking with book illustration

Healthy Eating, Healthy Weights and Physical Activity

Youth Nutrition

Access to a Registered Dietitian

EatRight Ontario provides a province-wide Dietitian Advisory Service, connecting Ontarians directly to Registered Dietitians. Consumers can talk to a Registered Dietitian about nutrition and healthy eating, by calling toll-free 1-877-510-5102 Monday to Friday, 9 am - 5 pm (Eastern Time) or send in questions online at Eat Right Ontario 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The focus of the service is health promotion and disease prevention. It is not intended to provide a counselling service or address clinical nutrition needs of individual situations. The contact centre will provide service in English and French, as well as accommodate many other languages.

Region of Waterloo employs Registered Dietitians in the Public Health department. However, dietetic services to individual clients are not provided by Public Health.

Clients seeking dietetic services may do so in one of two ways:

  • Medical Nutrition Therapy is provided by Grand River, St. Mary's and Cambridge Memorial Hospitals on an out-patient basis to clients who have a referral from a health care provider (e.g. family physician, nurse practitioner). Most of the services provided by hospital Dietitians are covered by OHIP.

For more information on dietetic services provided by local hospitals, family health teams, and community health centres, download a copy of the Directory of Nutrition Services for Waterloo Region. A hard copy can be requested from the Public Health Resource Centre at 519-575-4400 ext. 2256.

  • Registered Dietitians in the community also provide individual and group services on a fee-for-service basis. If you are interested in contacting a local consulting dietitian, use the Find a Dietitian feature on the Dietitians of Canada webpage.
eSolutionsGroup