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 2 & 3 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.

2020 Publications:

2018 Publications:

  • 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

    Ward S, Froehlich Chow A, Humbert L, Belanger M, Muhajarine N, Vatanparast H, Leis A.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2018.02.005

2017 Publications:

  • 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.
    Ward S, Froehlich Chow A, Humbert L, Belanger M, Muhajarine N, Vatanparast H, Leis A.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2018.02.005
  • 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.
    Ward S, Belanger M, Donovan D, Vatanparast H, Engler-Stringer R, Leis A, Carrier N.
    http://doi.org/10.17269/CJPH.108.5688
  • 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, Belanger M, Donovan D, Vatanparast H, Muhajarine N, Engler Stringer R, Leis A, Humbert L, Carrier N.
    http://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013657
  • “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.
    Ward S, Bélanger M, Donovan D, Boudreau J, Vatanparast H, Muhajarine N, Leis A, Humbert L, Carrier N.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.01.001
  • 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
    Sari N, Muhajarine N, Froehlich-Chow A.
    The Saskatchewan/New Brunswick Healthy Start-Départ Santé intervention: implementation cost estimates -Dr Nazmi Sari

2015-2016 Publications:

  • 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
    Froehlich Chow A, Leis A, Humbert L, Muhajarine N, Engler-Stringer R.
    http://doi.org/10.17269/CJPH.107.5279
  • 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.
    Bélanger  M, Humbert  L, Vatanparast  H, Ward  S, Muhajarine  N, Chow  A, Engler-Stringer  R, Donovan  D, Carrier  N, Leis  A.
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/16/313
  • 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
    Froehlich Chow A, Leis A, Humbert L, Engler-Stringer R, Muhajarine N.
    http://doi.org/10.1080/1059924X.2015.1046624

Phase 1 Report

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.

Healthy Start Evaluation Team

Researchers

  • Anne Leis, Professor, Community Health & Epidemiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Principal Investigator
  • Louise Humbert, Professor, College of Kinesiology, U of Saskatchewan, Co-PI
  • Hassan Vatanparast, Professor, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, U of Saskatchewan, Co-PI
  • Nazeem Muhajarine, Professor, Community Health & Epidemiology, U of Saskatchewan, Co-PI
  • Mathieu Bélanger, Professor, Département de médecine de famille, Faculté de médecine et des sciences de la santé, Université de Sherbrooke et Directeur de la recherche, Centre de formation Médicale, Université de Moncton, Co-PI
  • Amanda Froehlich-Chow, Post-doc fellow, Canadian Centre for Health & Safety in Agriculture, College of Medicine, U of   Saskatchewan, Co-I
  • Rachel Engler-Stringer, Associate Professor, Community Health & Epidemiology, College of Medicine, U of Saskatchewan, Co-I
  • Stephanie Ward, Assistant Professor, École des Sciences des aliments, de nutrition et d’études familiales, Faculté des Sciences de la santé et des services communautaires, Université de Moncton, Co-I
  • Nasmi Sari, Professor, Department of Economics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Co-I
  • Gabriela Novotna, Knowledge Development and Exchange (KDE) team, College of Social Work, University of Regina
  • Carol Henry, Professor, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan
  • Margot Gough, Project manager, Community Health & Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Holly Hallikainen, Project manager, Community Health & Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Meenu Sharma, Evaluation Coordinator, Community Health & Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Hubert Alimezelli, Evaluation Coordinator, Community Health & Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan

Research Assistants

  • Fiona Fick, Realist Evaluation, Community Health & Epidemiology, U of Saskatchewan
  • Christine Nisbet, Dietician, Smart Menu, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan
  • Nathalie Houser, University of Saskatchewan
  • Rachel Hébert, Université de Moncton, New Brunswick
  • Stephanie Ortynsky, KDE Coordinator, Community Health & Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Christina Wist, Master’s student, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan
  • Katie Willis, Master’s student, College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Emily Humbert, Master’s student, College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Ashely Binta, Medical student, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
  • Jennifer Heuser, Master’s student, College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Lila Abobakar, Master’s student, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan

Students

  • Kavitha Ramachandran, PhD student, Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Se’era Anstruther, PhD student, Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • George Sakyi, Master’s student, Department of Economics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Saskatchewan
  • Francis Frimpong, Master’s student, Department of Economics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Saskatchewan
  • Onowumi Obafemi, Master’s student, Community Health & Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan

 

 

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