Search Active Circle

Content on this website will be posted primarily in English. Content in French or Aboriginal languages will be posted when available. We apologize for this inconvenience.

Voices

"The Active Circle is a family, I feel like I'm part of something. I feel really supported in the work that I do."

Evan Chamakese, Pelican Lake First Nation

This innovative practice addresses the issue of childhood obesity.

The program is delivered in communities by local agencies with trained personnel supported by Alberta Health Services. It is provided at no cost to participants and gives  families a comfortable and supportive environment to interact and learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices.
PRACTICE DESCRIPTION:
The MEND initiative was launched in Alberta in 2010, as part of the Provincial Obesity Program. MEND is an innovative, multicomponent, evidence-informed, and community-based program focused on the prevention of and early intervention into childhood obesity for children aged two to 13 years and their families. The program focuses on behaviour change, physical activity, and nutrition knowledge. MEND sessions include a range of educational and fun activities, such as active play to promote physical activity, learning how to buy healthy foods via grocery store tours, healthy eating and mealtime routines, and setting goals to encourage healthy habits as a family.
The collection of MEND programs includes:
•      MEND 2–4: a healthy lifestyle prevention program for children ages two to four of any weight, 10 weeks (10 sessions) long, at 90 minutes per week;
•      MEND 5–7: a healthy lifestyle prevention and early intervention program for children ages five to seven years with a body mass index (BMI) over the 85th percentile, 10 weeks (10 sessions) long, at 105 minutes per week;
•      MEND 7–13: an early intervention program for children ages seven to 13 years with a BMI over the 85th percentile, 10 weeks (20 sessions) long, at four hours per week; and
•      MEND World: to support MEND 7–13 graduates for two years after the program, with fun online games, activities, and free magazines.
Program participants are recruited through multiple strategies including self-identified and health professional referrals.
The Alberta MEND program was grant funded from 2010 to 2013. The initiative was developed to adapt, test, and implement MEND programs across the province, including select Aboriginal communities, to address childhood obesity. Key deliverables of the three-year initiative included:
•         Adapt MEND 2–4, 5–7, 7–13, and MEND World programs to the Canadian context.
Implement MEND 2–4, 5–7, and 7–13 programs across Alberta.
Adapt and pilot MEND in the First Nations community and Métis Nation of Alberta.
Design and conduct a process and outcome evaluation of the initiative.
During the period from 2010 to 2013, 730 participants (365 children and 365 parents/caregivers) took part in 47 MEND programs, delivered by 19 community agencies across Alberta.
IMPACT:
The results of a randomized control study of a MEND initiative in the United Kingdom (2010) showed the program had a positive impact on health outcomes, including significant reductions of BMI and waist circumference in children. It also led to increased levels of physical activity and improvements in nutrition, self-esteem, and confidence. Outcomes were sustained over time.
In Alberta, a three-year evaluation of the MEND pilot has been completed. Feedback gathered from the children and families engaged in the programs indicates that the programs were favourably received by participants. As well, health outcomes data suggest positive changes in weight status, physical activity, cardiovascular health, healthy eating, and self-esteem.
APPLICABILITY/TRANSFERABILITY:
The MEND intervention in Alberta builds on the success of the original initiative (http://www.mendcentral.org), which was developed and implemented in the UK in 2004. MEND is the largest community-based child obesity prevention and weight management program in the world. Programs operate in approximately 320 locations in the United States (www.mendfoundation.org), the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Worldwide, over 80,000 children have participated in MEND programs. In Canada, a number of provinces, including British Columbia and Saskatchewan (www.childhoodobesityfoundation.ca/MEND) have also implemented the program.
Currently, qualitative research is underway to study the effectiveness of the scale-up and spread of MEND in Canada. A CIHR-sponsored study led by a Simon Fraser University researcher is collecting data, at baseline and one year into implementation, to evaluate the effectiveness of the scale-up and spread of MEND. It will also identify the implementation barriers and enablers.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
Name:                                     Farah Bandali
Title:                                        Manager, Healthy Childhood Growth
Organization:                          Alberta Health Services
Email address:                        This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Telephone number:                403-943-971

The program is delivered in communities by local agencies with trained personnel supported by Alberta Health Services. It is provided at no cost to participants and gives  families a comfortable and supportive environment to interact and learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices.

PRACTICE DESCRIPTION:

The MEND initiative was launched in Alberta in 2010, as part of the Provincial Obesity Program. MEND is an innovative, multicomponent, evidence-informed, and community-based program focused on the prevention of and early intervention into childhood obesity for children aged two to 13 years and their families. The program focuses on behaviour change, physical activity, and nutrition knowledge. MEND sessions include a range of educational and fun activities, such as active play to promote physical activity, learning how to buy healthy foods via grocery store tours, healthy eating and mealtime routines, and setting goals to encourage healthy habits as a family.

The collection of MEND programs includes:

• MEND 2–4: a healthy lifestyle prevention program for children ages two to four of any weight, 10 weeks (10 sessions) long, at 90 minutes per week;

• MEND 5–7: a healthy lifestyle prevention and early intervention program for children ages five to seven years with a body mass index (BMI) over the 85th percentile, 10 weeks (10 sessions) long, at 105 minutes per week;

• MEND 7–13: an early intervention program for children ages seven to 13 years with a BMI over the 85th percentile, 10 weeks (20 sessions) long, at four hours per week; and

• MEND World: to support MEND 7–13 graduates for two years after the program, with fun online games, activities, and free magazines.

Program participants are recruited through multiple strategies including self-identified and health professional referrals.

The Alberta MEND program was grant funded from 2010 to 2013. The initiative was developed to adapt, test, and implement MEND programs across the province, including select Aboriginal communities, to address childhood obesity. Key deliverables of the three-year initiative included: adapt MEND 2–4, 5–7, 7–13, and MEND World programs to the Canadian context; implement MEND 2–4, 5–7, and 7–13 programs across Alberta; adapt and pilot MEND in the First Nations community and Métis Nation of Alberta; and design and conduct a process and outcome evaluation of the initiative.

During the period from 2010 to 2013, 730 participants (365 children and 365 parents/caregivers) took part in 47 MEND programs, delivered by 19 community agencies across Alberta.

IMPACT:

The results of a randomized control study of a MEND initiative in the United Kingdom (2010) showed the program had a positive impact on health outcomes, including significant reductions of BMI and waist circumference in children. It also led to increased levels of physical activity and improvements in nutrition, self-esteem, and confidence. Outcomes were sustained over time.

In Alberta, a three-year evaluation of the MEND pilot has been completed. Feedback gathered from the children and families engaged in the programs indicates that the programs were favourably received by participants. As well, health outcomes data suggest positive changes in weight status, physical activity, cardiovascular health, healthy eating, and self-esteem.

APPLICABILITY/TRANSFERABILITY:

The MEND intervention in Alberta builds on the success of the original initiative (http://www.mendcentral.org), which was developed and implemented in the UK in 2004. MEND is the largest community-based child obesity prevention and weight management program in the world. Programs operate in approximately 320 locations in the United States (www.mendfoundation.org), the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Worldwide, over 80,000 children have participated in MEND programs. In Canada, a number of provinces, including British Columbia and Saskatchewan (www.childhoodobesityfoundation.ca/MEND) have also implemented the program.

Currently, qualitative research is underway to study the effectiveness of the scale-up and spread of MEND in Canada. A CIHR-sponsored study led by a Simon Fraser University researcher is collecting data, at baseline and one year into implementation, to evaluate the effectiveness of the scale-up and spread of MEND. It will also identify the implementation barriers and enablers.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Farah Bandali
Manager, Healthy Childhood Growth
Alberta Health Services
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
403-943-9719

For more information click here

Active Circle Communities

Seine River First Nation and Fort Frances Friendship Centre, Ontario

With the support of GEN7 messenger Kent Brown, the community is planning activities for youth and young girls.


Katarokwi Native Friendship Center, Kingston, Ontario

The community is working with Gen7 Messenger Josh Sacobie around regular visits and events with the youth and the center.


Pelican Lake First Nation, Saskatchewan 

The community's youth council has been planning and implementing a number of activities including a girls only program, outdoor sports and leadership training.


Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Circle of Newfoundland and Labrador

The ASRCNL is working with CAAWS and Motivate Canada on the You Go Girls program in 7 communities.

Copyright (2014) Active Circle