October 19, 2016Back to school season is in full swing and children look forward to playing with friends at recess. However, in an era where schools have banned games such as tag and removed hard balls from the school yard in the interest of preventing injuries, the question is, are children still experiencing the freedom and excitement that once accompanied the recess bell?
August 3, 2016Fentanyl is a prescription drug and its use represents a growing public health crisis in some parts of our country. Reports of use and overdose deaths occur at regular intervals, with British Columbia declaring a public health emergency after overdoses killed 200 people in the first three months of 2016. Between 2009 and 2014, there were at least 655 fentanyl-related deaths in Canada, with an average of one death every three days – and this figure is probably an underestimate.
August 3, 2016No one likes the drilling and filling needed to repair a cavity, especially not children. Unfortunately, despite it being largely preventable, dental decay is the most common chronic disease for children, with 57% of those aged 6-11 years and 59% of youth 12-19 years having had a cavity. Several approaches are available to prevent cavities, ranging from regular brushing and flossing to more complex approaches, including the use of sealants, which must be applied by a dental professional.
August 3, 2016We all use social media. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have become integral parts of our day-to-day lives, and have even become tools for public health professionals. Facebook is used by many public health departments to share information, while Twitter has shown great promise for community engagement and rapid information dissemination. This is due to its interactive (push-and-pull) nature and the sheer amount of data that are shared on a daily basis. Users post 500 million tweets per day, for a total of 200 billion per year.
April 7, 2016Winter is ending and Canadians are coming out of hibernation, ready to play in the sun. While there is nothing wrong with soaking in some sunshine, there are risks.
April 7, 2016As summer approaches and warmer temperatures arrive, you might expect to see kids actively, independently playing outdoors; but they aren’t. In fact, Canadian children spend over 7.5 hours a day being sedentary, while less than 9% of 5-17 year olds achieve the overall benchmark physical activity levels (at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day to achieve health benefits). These levels of activity gave Canadian children a D minus for activity in the 2015 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.
January 26, 2016Baby boomers are the large group of individuals born between 1946 and 1965. In Canada, for the first time, this group comprises a larger percentage of the population (with 16.12% being 65 years and older) compared to youth less than 14 years of age (16.04% of our population). This trend is expected to continue into the mid-2030s, when it is projected that up to 25% of the population will be 65 years and older.
January 26, 2016Canada’s health care system is increasingly reliant on informal or voluntary caregivers (those family members and friends who provide a variety of supports without remuneration) to support the needs of those with chronic illnesses, those with mental illness, and our seniors. These caregivers’ economic contribution in Canada was an estimated $25 billion in 2009, $5 billion of which can be attributed to providing support for those living with mental illness.
October 15, 2015Since our last update about nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, there has been an explosion of research published and a variety of steps taken by governments. Today’s brief provides a quick summary of a few of those findings and activities.
August 17, 2015Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed newborns and infants, and an important contributor to their health. It provides nutrition, boosts immunity, and fosters maternal–child bonding. Babies who are not breastfed or have been weaned early have an increased likelihood of contracting otitis media, gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, necrotizing enterocolitis, diabetes and asthma and of succumbing to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), while mothers who have not breastfed have an increased likelihood of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes and coronary heart disease.