Healthy Kids Community Challenge

Waterloo Region is one of 45 communities across Ontario taking part in The Healthy Kids Community Challenge (HKCC). The HKCC unites communities with a common goal of promoting children and their families' health through physical activity and healthy eating.

Information for Caregivers

Information for Partners

How does The Healthy Kids Community Challenge work?

About every nine months, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will launch a new theme related to physical activity or healthy eating; two protective factors associated with healthy weights in children. Our community will rally around the theme and work with partners in many sectors to take on projects that help to make it real, in ways that work best for us and where we live.

Theme 2 - Water Does Wonders

The second theme is Water Does Wonders, which will be launched in the fall of 2016. This healthy eating theme encourages children and families to choose water to satisfy their thirst instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Water is the most natural, healthy, and affordable beverage choice for children and families.

Tools and resources for supporting healthy eating and healthy beverage choices and details about theme two activities can be found at this link: HKCC Theme 2 - Water Does Wonders

The first theme was Run. Jump. Play. Every Day. This theme encourages physical activity through a mix of active play, sport, active transportation and structured activities.

Any form of regular movement is physical activity. Children should be physically active daily as part of play, games, sports, transportation, recreation, physical education, or planned exercise activities.

For more information about the first theme, see the Run. Jump. Play. Every Day. Healthy Community Kids Challenge Factsheet

Why do we need the Healthy Kids Community Challenge?

  • About one quarter of senior kindergarten students (24 per cent of females and 26 per cent of males) is at risk for being overweight or obese.[i] Childhood obesity is associated with an increased risk of chronic disease and premature death in adulthood.[ii]
  • Unhealthy weights can negatively influence self-esteem, social inclusion and mental health in children and youth.[iii]
  • Only seven per cent of children and youth accumulate 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at least six days per week.[iv] Among youth 12 to 17 years old, 58 per cent frequently used or viewed a screen during their leisure time.[v]
  • Research suggests that high levels of sedentary behaviour increase health risks in children, no matter how active they are at other times.[vi]
  • Over the last decade there has been a 14% drop in the number of Canadian kids who play outside after school.[vi]
  • Some data indicates that just over half of students (56 to 58 per cent) who live within walking distance of their school, actually walked or cycled to get there. Almost half (42 to 44 per cent) were driven.[vii]

Unless otherwise indicated, statistics are for Waterloo Region. For more statistics on Ontario children's health and physical activity levels, see The Healthy Kids Community Challenge FACTS

The following three infographics are based on responses from 3,206 parents living in Ontario. Public Healthy Ontario has produced posters based on specific child health behaviours. Although these statistics may not be representative of our community, they are fun to read!

Parental Support for Child Health

Who Coordinates the Healthy Kids Community Challenge?

The Challenge is modelled after a program used in Europe, called Epode (Ensemble Prévenons l'Obésité des Enfants--Together Let's Prevent Childhood Obesity). The strength of Epode comes from partnerships: connecting government agencies, school boards, community groups and other non-government agencies to develop common goals and better ways to work together.

The HKCC will be funded for three years by the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC), but is delivered as a partnership through all seven area municipalities (three cities and four townships).

Funds will be disbursed from the Province to the Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services as the common partner for all seven local municipalities. Each of the seven areas will then be able to decide how to allocate the funding to best serve their community's unique interests and needs.

Please see below for a list of the Steering Committee Members.

Organization Representative Contact Information
Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services

Katherine Pigott

Manager, Healthy Eating and Active Communities

519-575-4400 ext. 5415 

Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services

Sanjay Govindaraj

Local Project Manager, Waterloo Region Healthy Kids Community Challenge

519-575-4400 ext. 5305

City of Cambridge

Nicole Cichello

Coordinator, Recreation

519-740-4681 ext. 4652

City of Kitchener

Denise Keelan

Manager, Aquatics and Athletics

519-741-2200 ext. 7420 

City of Waterloo

Nancy Hall-Jupp

Supervisor, Leisure and Active Living Programs

519-886-1177 ext. 27270 

Township of Wilmot

Vicky Luttenberger

Manager, Recreation and Community Services

519-634-8444 ext. 240 

Township of Woolwich

Ann McArthur

Director, Recreation

519-669-1647 ext. 6022 

Township of North Dumfries

Frank Prospero

Director, Recreation

519-632-8800 ext. 101 

Township of Wellesley

Brad Voisin

Director, Recreation


Waterloo Catholic District School Board

Kathy Doherty-Masters

Consultant, Healthy and Active Living

519-578-3660 ext. 2279