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Arviat Healthy Bodies Storybook Series (2013)

Arviat Healthy Bodies Storybook Series (2013)

Background

In 2011/12 through a grant from Coca-Cola Canada Foundation, the Canadian Institute of Child Health (CICH) examined the issues impacting the nutrition of Inuit children ages 0-12.

Although access to healthy foods and high costs were identified as major factors, it was also evident that there was a need to encourage younger generations to try healthy and traditional/country foods and to learn about the benefits of choosing these foods. It was also noted that there is limited material available on healthy lifestyles in Inuktitut to read to young children or to be read by young children.

Building on these findings, CICH undertook an educational campaign to engage children under the age of 12 and their parents to help embed good health practices at an early age.

Through this campaign healthy eating and physical activity information for the family has been introduced related to shopping, hunting, fishing, food preparation and cooking.

The importance of being more active has also been woven into the various themes as something the family can do together through daily living such as walking to the grocery store, snowshoeing to check trap lines (instead of using the snow mobile) and playing traditional games together and as a family.

The Project

The Canadian Institute of Child Health (CICH), working with the Arviat Wellness Centre, Nunavut Arctic College, Arviat Film Society and numerous Inuit partners (Inuit curriculum, education and cultural experts, artists and national stakeholders) and the Coca-Cola Foundation (through a grant contribution), has developed and distributed a new series of resources for parents and educators.

The resources built on Inuit culture and traditions to encourage Inuit children aged 0-12 and their families to become more active and to eat and drink healthier foods and beverages including country /traditional and market foods.

The following resources were developed in English, French and Inuktitut:

  • A series of six engaging storybooks and colouring books that can be read to children about the importance of healthy nutrition and physical activity.
  • A series of 6 new Inuit children’s songs for each story to help reinforce messages.
  • Activities and games for parents and teachers at the back of the storybooks/colouring books to reinforce the lessons on healthy eating and physical activity.
  • A project website where all new resources and songs can be downloaded.  The website also provides information about the project with additional ideas and games as well as profiles of the youth contributors.

The resources were shared with early learning centres, Head Start programs, teachers, communities and parent groups.