Childhood Overweight and Obesity

The Research Question:

"What types of effective non-clinical interventions might be helpful for prevention and treatment of childhood overweight and obesity in Newfoundland and Labrador?"


Rates of obesity and overweight for Canadians have increased dramatically in the past twenty years. Obesity is now the leading metabolic disorder among adults in Canada and is considered to be a leading cause of avoidable adult mortality.

Obesity may be related to higher rates of physical disease, like osteoarthritis, as well as metabolic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Obesity is also associated with a higher incidence of psychological problems, decreased productivity, and lower educational and professional attainment.

The shift in the body-weight profile of the Canadian population also applies to children. Rates of obesity and overweight are increasing for youth in Newfoundland and Labrador and are, along with adult rates, the highest among the Canadian provinces.

As with adults, children who are overweight and obese may have increased rates of physical and psychological co-morbidities and decreased educational attainment. Since overweight tends to persist into adulthood, these trends forecast significant challenges to the population health and healthcare resources of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Current research is demonstrating that the causes of overweight and obesity are many, complex and inter-related. Obesity is influenced by factors that are genetic, behavioural, nutritional, social, cultural, economic, and environmental. An extensive research literature has developed on population health strategies to prevent and treat childhood overweight.

The CHRSP Project Team:

  • Dr. Sara Kirk, Canada Research Chair in Health Services Research, School of Health Services Administration, Dalhousie University and Izaak Walton Killam Health Centre (Team Leader)
  • Dr. Stephen Bornstein, Director, NLCAHR, (CHRSP Program Coordinator)
  • Pablo Navarro, Research Officer, NLCAHR, (CHRSP Project Coordinator)
  • Eleanor Swanson, Director, Health Promotion and Wellness Division, Department of Health & Community Services, Government of Newfoundland & Labrador (Health System Co-Investigator)
  • Darlene Ricketts, School Health Coordinator, Health Promotion Division, Eastern Health (Contextualization Consultant)
  • Pam Moores, Parent and Child Health Coordinator (school-aged), Western Health (Contextualization Consultant)
  • Gerry Sullivan, 4H Director for Canada (Newfoundland & Labrador) (Contextualization Consultant)
  • Paul House, Program Specialist, Physical Education, Active and Healthy Living, Eastern School District, Newfoundland & Labrador (Contextualization Consultant)
  • Dr. Jane Waples, Associate Professor, Economics, Memorial University (Contextualization Consultant)



Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000