Over the last five years, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada has become actively engaged in research, health promotion and advocacy directed at the shaping of active and healthy communities across the country.
In 2012, a Position Statement was developed which articulated the links between community design, physical activity, heart disease and stroke. This statement identified the need for: health promotion directed at Canadians across the country; policy changes from all levels of government; and research directed at knowledge gaps, effective policy options, and the economic benefits associated with community designs which foster physical activity and active transportation.
Shaping Active & Healthy Communities Tools
The Shaping Active and Healthy Communities program was initiated with the creation of a 53-page document, Shaping Active, Healthy Communities Toolkit (2.2 MB), which was produced in collaboration with the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Canadian Urban Institute.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s work on healthy communities was accelerated under the first phase of the Healthy Canada by Design CLASP Initiative when several new resources were created with the funding provided by Health Canada’s Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. The new resources include:
A 48-page Shaping Active, Healthy Communities Workshop Guide (1.23 MB) to be used by staff, individuals and community groups that are interested in building awareness among Canadians about the links between community design, physical activity, active modes of transportation such as walking and cycling, and improved health;
A 90-page Shaping Active, Healthy Communities Workshop – Facilitator’s PPT Presentation (7MB), that can be used by staff and volunteers who are organizing community workshops; and
A 4-page Healthy Communities in Action Factsheet which identifies a few of the successful campaigns that have been mounted under the Shaping Active & Healthy Communities Program.
Under the Healthy Canada by Design CLASP Initiative, the Foundation also collaborated with the Canadian Institute of Planners, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, and the Public Health Agency of Canada to produce three Research Briefs which summarize the Canadian evidence the following topics:
- Active Transportation, Health & Community Design – Factsheet (12 pages)
- Active Living, Children & Youth – Factsheet (12 pages)
- Health Equity & Community Design – Factsheet (12 pages)
Funding Primary Research
Since 2008, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has also partnered with key research funders such as the Canadian Institute of Health Research, to support several, multi-year healthy communities projects that are linking primary researchers with local policy-makers. These projects have been designed to address public policy gaps and identify evidence-based methods to improve community designs that foster healthy living. Thirteen of these projects are highlighted in the new 8-page Healthy Communities Design Research-Factsheet.
In addition, a number of these healthy communities projects are featured in a Special Supplement in the Canadian Journal of Public Health that was published in December 2012. Dedicated to the Canadian evidence on built environment and health, this Special Supplement was produced with financial or in-kind contributions from Health Canada, through the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the Canadian Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Other healthy communities resources can be found on the Heart and Stroke Foundation Healthy Communities web-page or the Healthy Canada by Design CLASP Resources web-page.
Prepared by Kim Perrotta and Alice Miro