At My Best Development
At My Best was developed in response to the staggering obesity rates in Canada. In 1978, 12% of children and adolescents aged 2 to 17 years were overweight and 3% were obese – for a combined overweight/obesity prevalence of 15%. By 2004, 18% were overweight in this age group and 8 % - or half a million children – were obese – a combined prevalence of 26%.
Obesity conditions in youth and adolescents often continue into adulthood, which can contribute to a range of other debilitating diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular conditions and diabetes. It is estimated that the direct health cost of obesity is $1.6 billion annually or 2.4 per cent of total health care spending. The indirect cost of obesity is $2.6 million, which is related to lost productivity, disability insurance and reduced quality of life and mental health problems due to stigmatization and poor self-esteem. (Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids, 2007)
There is a current epidemic of overweight, obese and physically inactive children and youth across Canada. A 2004 Canadian Community Health survey found that among children aged 6 to 17, the likelihood of obesity tended to rise with time spent watching TV, playing video games or using the computer.
Lack of adequate health and physical education programs and limited resources within the school system have contributed to children not developing the skills or the habits that are needed to be physically active and to make healthy lifestyle choices, hence the development of At My Best.
At My Best Components
At My Best adopts a holistic approach to teaching students about health and well-being in three important areas:
1. Physical Activity/Physical Education
At My Best supports awareness and increased opportunities for students to be more physically active at school (in physical education class, daily physical activities, and on the playground) and at home (through a range of take home activities that they can do with family and friends).
2. Healthy Eating/Healthy Living
At My Best teaches students, through a range of fun and interactive activities, about what it means to eat healthy and to partake in healthy living practices (getting rest, the importance of good hygiene, safety issues, and much more).
3. Emotional Well-being
Helping students feel good about themselves, be supportive of others, and develop skills related to maintaining emotional well-being is an important aspect of health, and integral to a healthy learning environment. The core values of At My Best include helping students develop their emotional ABCs (Able, Belonging, Caring) in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 and understanding themselves and their impact on others and the world around them (through the I, We, Us theme) in At My Best 4-5-6.
Link to Home
A strong connection between learning at school and at home makes learning more meaningful, real and enduring for students. At My Best supports and facilitates this connection between school and home by encouraging students to take activities home to celebrate with their family, such as take-home books, engaging in activities with the family, and teaching and participating in activities learned at school with family at home.