Research

To ensure Healthy Start remains synonymous with “best evidence” and “best practice”, Healthy Start paired up with researchers from across the country to evaluate the initiative.

The Healthy Start evaluation project monitored and assessed the impact of Healthy Start in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. The objective was to understand the extent to which Healthy Start increases physical activity levels and healthy eating behaviours among children in early learning centres.

Healthy Start Evaluation Objectives:

  • Measure changes in levels of physical activity of children (3-5 years old)
  • Observe changes in fundamental movement skills in children (3-5 years old)
  • Measure changes in nutritional intake of children (3-5 years old)
  • Measure changes in knowledge and behaviour of caregivers with respect to healthy eating and physical activity

Healthy Start Evaluation Reports

Phase 1 Reports

Ten urban and rural childcare centres in Saskatchewan took part in the implementation and evaluation of Phase 1 of Healthy Start in 2011-2012. They demonstrated that Healthy Start contributes to positive physical activity and healthy eating experiences in young children, as well as creating greater awareness among caregivers about the benefits of being active and eating a variety of healthy foods.

Phase 2 Reports and Publications

The Healthy Start intervention was delivered over the course of 6 to 8 months. Childcare centres randomly allocated to the intervention group received a 3-hour on-site training, resources, and on-going support and monitoring; In addition, they received a tailored 90-minute booster session at the midway point of the intervention period. Childcare centres randomly allocated to the control group continued their usual practice and were not provided with any training, resources or support. Once the study was completed, all childcare centres from the control group were offered the HSDS intervention.

2018 Publications:

  • Ward S, Froehlich Chow A, Humbert L, Belanger M, Muhajarine N, Vatanparast H, Leis A. Promoting physical activity, healthy eating and gross motor skills development among preschoolers attending childcare centers: Process evaluation of the Healthy Start-Départ Santé intervention using the RE-AIM framework. Evaluation and Program Planning 2018 (June); 68:90-98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2018.02.005

2017 Publications:

  • Ward S, Froehlich Chow A, Humbert L, Belanger M, Muhajarine N, Vatanparast H, Leis A. Promoting physical activity, healthy eating and gross motor skills development among preschoolers attending childcare centers: Process evaluation of the Healthy Start-Départ Santé intervention using the RE-AIM framework. Evaluation and Program Planning 2018 (June); 68:90-98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2018.02.005
  • Ward S, Belanger M, Donovan D, Vatanparast H, Engler-Stringer R, Leis A, Carrier N. Lunch is ready but not healthy: An analysis of lunches served in childcare centres in two Canadian provinces. Can J Public Health 2017;108 (4):e342–e347.
    doi: 10.17269/CJPH.108.5688
  • Ward S, Belanger M, Donovan D, Vatanparast H, Muhajarine N, Engler Stringer R, Leis A, Humbert L, Carrier N. Association between childcare educators’ practices and preschoolers’ physical activity and dietary intake: a cross-sectional analysis. BMJ Open 2017;7:e013657. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013657
  • Ward S, Bélanger M, Donovan D, Boudreau J, Vatanparast H, Muhajarine N, Leis A, Humbert L, Carrier N. “Monkey see, monkey do”: Peers’ behaviors predict preschoolers’ physical activity and dietary intake in childcare centers. Preventive Medicine 2017 Volume null, Issue null, Page null. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.01.001
  • Sari N, Muhajarine N, Froehlich-Chow A. The Saskatchewan/New Brunswick Healthy Start-Départ Santé intervention: implementation cost estimates of a physical activity and healthy eating intervention in early learning centers. BMC Health Services Research 2017; 17:57: (1-14). DOI 10.1186/s12913-017-1978-9

The Saskatchewan/New Brunswick Healthy Start-Départ Santé intervention: implementation cost estimates -Dr Nazmi Sari

2015-2016 Publications:

Froehlich Chow A, Leis A, Humbert L, Muhajarine N, Engler-Stringer R. Healthy Start – Départ Santé: A pilot study of a multilevel intervention to increase physical activity, fundamental movement skills and healthy eating in rural childcare centres. Can J Public Health 2016;107(3):e312–e318. doi: 10.17269/CJPH.107.5279

Bélanger  M, Humbert  L, Vatanparast  H, Ward  S, Muhajarine  N, Chow  A, Engler-Stringer  R, Donovan  D, Carrier  N, Leis  A. A multilevel intervention to increase physical activity and improve healthy eating and physical literacy among young children (ages 3-5) attending early childcare centres: the Healthy Start-Départ Santé, cluster randomised controlled trial study protocol. BMC Public Health.2016, 16:313. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-2973-5. URL: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/16/313

Froehlich Chow A, Leis A, Humbert L, Engler-Stringer R, Muhajarine N. Supporting Healthy Eating Among Rural Early Years Children: A Pulse Crop Pilot Intervention Study. Journal of Agromedicine 2015; 20:3: 386-389, DOI: 10.1080/1059924X.2015.1046624. Published online: 03 Aug 2015

Healthy Start Evaluation Team

  • Dr. Anne Leis; Co-Investigator – Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Dr. Louise Humbert; Co-Investigator – College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Dr. Mathieu Bélanger; Co-Investigator – Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick, Université de Sherbrooke & Université de Moncton
  • Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine; Co-Investigator – Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Dr. Hassan Vatanparast; Co-Investigator – College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan
  • Dr. Nazmi Sari; Co-Investigator – Department of Economics, University of Saskatchewan
  • Dr. Rachel Engler-Stringer; Co-Investigator – Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Dr. Stéphanie Ward; PhD student, post-doctorate project; Co-Investigator – Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick, Université de Moncton
  • Dr. Amanda Froehlich Chow; PhD student & post-doctorate work/ Co-Investigator – College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Kavitha Ramachandran; PhD Candidate – Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Se’era Anstruther; PhD Candidate – College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan

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