Focusing Canadian Acumen on Solutions for Healthy Living

Focusing Canadian Acumen on Solutions for Healthy Living

Alexandra Audet's picture

Many of us tout the fact that a Canadian invented basketball, and that other sports, including hockey and lacrosse, find their roots in Canada. But what do a prosthetic hand, peanut butter, and insulin have in common?

(Take a second)

They were all developed in Canada or by Canadians. That’s right, we are not only a gold-medal winning hockey machine, but also a birthplace for innovations that change the way the world moves, eats, lives, and more.

From an outside perspective, our all-star Olympians and our healthcare system paint a picture of a healthy, thriving nation—but in reality, many challenges persist:

  • 60 percent of Canadian adults are overweight or obese.
  • Only 15 percent of adults accumulate the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity.
  • Girls are less active than boys, with only 9 percent of boys and 4 percent of girls meeting Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.
  • 70 percent of children ages 4 to 8, and 50 percent of adults, do not eat the recommended daily minimum of five servings of vegetables and fruit.

Fortunately, social innovations that address these problems are emerging throughout the country. That's why The Play Exchange is looking to put that famous Canadian ingenuity to work in the name of healthy living. Every citizen can enable a healthier Canada by stepping up to the challenge and creating the reality they want to see for their children, communities, and the nation.

What's possible?

Here are two examples: Fillactive (FitSpirit) is targeting adolescent girls, the least active group of Canadians, and giving them the opportunity to discover the fun of being active and healthy. La Tablée des Chefs (Band of Chefs) is on a mission to educate future generations to develop their self-sufficiency by encouraging students to adopt healthier eating habits.

Do you have an idea to get kids active? Is your organization promoting healthy living across your province? Be the difference. Enter your initiative or idea in The Play Exchange today.

Six finalists will each receive mentoring and support from LIFT Philanthropy Partners, valued at $30,000, to develop a strategic business plan for their idea. The finalists will receive national visibility in a CBC television special.

Canadians will be invited to vote for their favourite innovation, and the top entrant that is selected by a panel of judges will be eligible for up to $1 million from the Government of Canada to scale-up their winning idea or put it into action.


Editor's Note: The Play Exchange is funded, in part, by the Government of Canada and supported by Canadian Tire, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and LIFT Philanthropy Partners.

La Tablée des Chefs was founded by Jean-Francois Archambault. FitSpirit was founded by Claudine LaBelle. They are both Canadian Ashoka Fellows. Ashoka envisions an Everyone A Changemaker™ world: a world that responds quickly and effectively to social challenges, where each individual has the freedom, confidence, and societal support to address any social problem and to drive change.

Photo Credit: "SCOTSBURN 2013 Junior Mini Jamboree" - via Iguanasan via Compfight cc



Colley RC, Garriguet D, Janssen I, Craig C, Clarke J & Tremblay MS. Physical activity of Canadian children and youth: Accelerometer results from the 2007–2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Health Reports 2011; 2(1):12–20.

Statistics Canada. (2006, July 6). Canadian Community Health Survey: Overview of Canadians' eating habits. Retrieved from:

Statistics Canada. (2012, December). Canada Health Measures Survey – Body Composition of Canadian adults, 2009-2011.

Photo Credit: Iguanasan via Compfight cc