Children’s Health and the Environment Workshop & Symposium: Moving Research to Action for Healthy Kids

Children’s Health and the Environment Workshop & Symposium: Moving Research to Action for Healthy Kids

Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre Western University; London, Canada
26th June 2017

An incredible group of speakers from across North America came to London June 2017 to share their latest work and insights related to children’s health and the built environment in 3 key areas: access to healthy food, promoting healthy physical activity including active travel and play, and healthy outdoor play and mobility. We are inviting practitioners, policymakers, health promoters and providers, community service and care providers, designers and planners, educators and all others interested in providing healthy built environments for children, to join us for this informative and collaborative workshop. Collectively we will work to move evidence from research and successful interventions into action that will provide healthier environments for children in all communities.

Purpose

The purpose of the workshop is to provide an effective forum for knowledge exchange and relationship building among leading researchers, policymakers, and practitioners concerned with children’s health and the built environment. This intimate workshop and symposium will feature presentations on the latest in research evidence around healthy children’s environments, as well as successful initiatives and interventions taking place around the world. Collectively we will discuss strategies for utilizing evidence from research and interventions to drive environmental and policy change, and to outline an action plan for next steps.

Overview of Workshop & Symposium

The last 10 years has produced the largest body of evidence to date verifying that the physical environments of children’s homes, schools, neighbourhoods and cities can profoundly impact their healthy development. It is now time to translate this research knowledge into decisive action – to guide interventions, direct new practices, and support policy changes that will provide healthier, safer and more vibrant communities for our children.

In 2010, the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory (HEAL) of Western University hosted an international workshop on Children’s Health and the Environment to solicit the latest in research efforts, and to identify gaps in knowledge and evidence. In June 2017, the HEAL will once again gather an international group of leading researchers, practitioners and policymakers in London, Ontario to examine how research evidence is underscoring successful interventions, informing best practices and providing healthier environments for children in Canada and around the world.

Each day of this 3-day workshop will focus on a key issue related to children’s healthy environments. Day 1 will explore practices and policies that improve children ‘s access to healthy food environments, including at school and in their communities. Day 2 will focus on efforts to create home, school and community environments for healthy physical activity, including active travel and active play. Day 3 will emphasize initiatives and practices creating healthy outdoor and natural environments, including strategies for improving children’s access to nature and ‘risky’ outdoor environments.

This 3-day international workshop aims to provide an engaging and effective forum for knowledge exchange and mobilization between a cross-disciplinary group of researchers, practitioners and policymakers concerned with healthy environments for children and youth. Workshop participants will hear of successful initiatives and interventions taking place around the world, and will collectively discuss strategies for utilizing evidence from research and interventions to drive environmental and policy change.

Who Attended?

The audience for this workshop included a diverse group of Canadian and international researchers, policymakers and practitioners who are concerned with providing environments supportive of the health and well-being of children and youth. The paper sessions, roundtable discussions, poster sessions, and planned networking opportunities will be of particular interest to policymakers, professionals and academics in the fields of architecture, education, epidemiology, geography, landscape architecture, planning, political science, psychology, public health, and sociology. We are planning for a diversity of participants, as one of the desired outcomes of this workshop is the initiation of new interdisciplinary research or project teams to pursue additional interventions or initiatives aimed at improving the quality of built environments for children and youth.

Our Primary Sponsor for this event was The Lawson Foundation.

 

Podcasts From the Event:

Two Peas in a Pod (Dr. Richard Sadler at CHEWS2017)

Dr. Jason Gilliland and Dr. Sean Doherty present SmartAPPetite for Youth

Retail Food Environments in Recreation Settings

Research into action for healthy food environments