Living Green and Healthy for Teens (LiGHT)
A mobile program for youth and their families
LiGHT is a four-year project funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada with matched funding from Ayogo Health Inc., Merck Canada and Heart and Stroke.
One in three children and youth have excess weight or obesity putting them at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and high blood pressure. Although weight centres for children and youth are available in some major cities across Canada, they are not accessible to everyone. There is an urgent need for more youth and their families to have easy access to the information and the supports they need to successfully achieve long lasting, healthy lifestyle behaviours. The LiGHT program will help to fill this gap.
The LiGHT program builds on a novel online healthy weights initiative that the Childhood Obesity Foundation successfully piloted in 2012. Youth and their families will be engaged with interactive, gamified content that helps them build social connections, and includes live and personalized virtual coaching. Ayogo Health Inc., a leader in mobile innovation and persuasive design, will build the youth engagement platform. Merck Canada will support public relations and translation services. Heart and Stroke will support knowledge translation and program promotion. Dr. Louise Mâsse, UBC’s School of Population and Public Health and BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, will lead on evaluating the impact and success of the program.
An estimated 2300 youth will participate throughout the life of the project to test its impact and success before rolling it out to a broader audience of potentially more than 1 million children and youth who have excess weight or obesity.
The Project was officially launched on April 21, 2017 by Minister Jane Philpott (Press Release).
Quotes from the Childhood Obesity Foundation and LiGHT Partners:
“The evidence is clear – youth who embrace healthy lifestyle habits are more likely to be at a healthy weight and have a healthy body image. Our gamified online program will engage youth in a fun, interactive way to improve their health and the health of their families and will also emphasize the positive environmental benefits and cost-savings associated with healthier lifestyles.”
Tom Warshawski, MD
Chair, Board of Directors, Childhood Obesity Foundation
“For the first time, Canadian children, youth and their parents will have a state-of-the-art mobile program to tackle lifestyles that lead to unhealthy weights. This made-in-Canada solution, built upon Ayogo’s award-winning Empower™ platform, will unite cognitive computing, knowledge-based actions based on healthy lifestyle choices and the power of fun. I’m thrilled that Ayogo has joined together with our partners to create the most sophisticated youth-centered health app available anywhere in the world.”
Michael Fergusson, CEO
Ayogo Health Inc.
“We are proud to partner with Ayogo and the Childhood Obesity Foundation on this innovative program which aims to address an increasing public health issue, childhood obesity, a leading cause of type 2 diabetes in young people. We believe this program will support positive lifestyle changes and ultimately result in better health outcomes”
Jennifer Chan, Vice President, Policy and External Affairs
Merck Canada Inc.
For more information, contact the Project Director, Janice Macdonald.