Healthy Kids Community Challenge

HKCC Banner Theme 2

Community partners in Hamilton mountain wards 6, 7, and 8 have come together to help us raise healthy kids. With the Healthy Kids Community Challenge (HKCC), Ontario communities are taking action to promote the health of children through physical activity and healthy eating.  Over the next three years, Hamilton will receive over one million dollars from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to make this happen.

How can I get involved?

Getting involved in your community during the Healthy Kids Community Challenge is easier than ever.  Every nine months, HKCC will launch a new theme related to physical activity or healthy eating. Together, we will bring these themes to life on the Hamilton mountain! 

Join us as we look for ways to make it easier for you and your children to:

  • Be physically active
  • Create safe places to live, learn, and play
  • Drink more water, rather than sugary drinks
  • Enjoy eating well
  • Sit less and move more

Ride Smart Cycling Education program
Kids will learn safe cycling skills at selected elementary schools. Learn more about the program.

Famille en Mouvement program
Activities for the whole family and Zumba for students during recess at French Catholic Elementary Schools.
Contact Franklin Leukam.
Phone: 905-524-2503

Purnell Kids Club
Kids play and build confidence in sports and recreation activities for children ages 7-12 years old that live at 77 Purnell Drive in Ward 8.

Hamilton’s Neighbourhood Leadership Institute
Join families to work on great project ideas by participating in a 10 week program with the Hamilton Community Foundation.

StoryWalk program
Hamilton Public Library presents the StoryWalk program.  Kids follow along a story as they walk/jump/run along a trail from page to page in locations on Hamilton mountain. Contact: Hamilton Public Library 905-546-3200 Ext. 3285.

Recreational skating program
Grades 1-2 students at select Catholic Elementary Schools on Hamilton mountain will participate in a skating program.

SportsBlast recreation program
Grades 1-3 students at select schools on Hamilton mountain will participate in a fast run, jump, throw based physical activity program during nutrition breaks.  Ask at your school for more details. Registration cost applies.

Breakfast Club
Morning physical activity program for kids 6-12 will be available three days a week at Huntington and Westmount recreation centre  . 

Start the Cycle Program
Children ages 7-15 years old can participate the Hamilton Public Library bike lending program that includes safe cycling skills. For more information contact 905-546-3200 Ext. 3285.

Theme 2: Water Does Wonders

Throughout this theme, the City will aid in supporting healthy hydration for children and families with campaigns, policies, programs, and environmental supports. Communities have an important role to play in educating families about healthy drink habits and choices. Hamilton will work to make fresh drinking water easy to access and appealing wherever kids spend time. 

Water is essential for good health. It is also the simple, convenient, and low cost option for quenching thirst. Let’s encourage kids and families to make water their first choice to drink with meals and throughout the day.

The human body is approximately 60% water and water is needed for many vital bodily functions, such as:

  • Cooling off by sweating
  • Carrying vitamins and minerals to different parts of the body
  • Carrying waste (like carbon dioxide) out of the body
  • Digesting food
  • Maintaining fluid balance, blood pressure, and kidney health
  • Allowing our muscles to work

If enough water or fluids are not comsumed, a person may:

  • Become dehydrated
  • Feel tired or dizzy
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Get headaches
  • Have a higher heart rate
  • Get muscle cramps

Water Does Wonders Pledge

Are you up for the challenge? 
Take the pledge

Families, schools and the community are taking the challenge to drink more water and sip less sugar.  
Take the pedge now.

Why does water do wonders?

  • Children need water to stay hydrated and healthy, and makes up more than half of a child’s weight.
  • Water contains no sugar, calories, additives or caffeine
  • Dietary preferences are established between the ages 0 to 4, laying the foundation for eating habits later in life.
  • When children are used to consuming water at a young age, they are more likely to drink water later in life.
  • From ages 4 to 18, around 20% of the calories children and teens consume come from beverages.
  • Younger children take in almost 30% of their calories from beverages.
  • Sugary drinks often replace more nutritious choices and add extra calories and sugar to children’s diets.
  • Sugary drinks are the single largest source of sugar in most kids’ diets.
  • Research consistently shows a relationship between consumption of sugary drinks and weight gain in children
  • Excessive sugar intake is associated with other negative health outcomes such as an increased number of dental cavities, risk of heart disease, and increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Soft drinks (pop and soda)
Carbonated beverages that generally have a high amount of sugar and contain no nutrients (vitamins and minerals). It is healthiest to avoid these products.

Fruit drinks or punches
Fruit punch, fruit drinks, fruit cocktail, and fruit flavored beverages contain water, flavouring and added sugar.  They offer few nutrients. It is healthiest to avoid these products.   

Sports drinks
Sports drinks are typically sold as electrolyte-replacers to help athletes rehydrate during and after exercise. While certain people can benefit from electrolyte replacement when engaging in prolonged, vigorous physical activity, most people don’t need sports drinks while exercising.

For most children, daily electrolyte requirement are met by a healthy balanced diet. Sport or energy drinks offer little to no advantage over plain water and simply add to an individual’s sugar intake. It is healthiest to limit or avoid these products.   

Tea and coffee drinks
Tea and coffee are beverages that are usually high in caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and can have negative impacts on children. It is healthiest to limit or avoid these products.  

Energy drinks
Most energy drinks are carbonated drinks that contain large amounts of caffeine, sugar and other ingredients such as vitamins, amino acids and herbal stimulants.  Energy drinks are not the same as sports drinks. Drinking energy drinks during exercise can lead to dehydration. Children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid energy drinks.

Sweetened milk or milk alternatives (e.g., chocolate milk, and sweetened soy, rice, or almond beverages)
Sweetened milks or milk alternatives differ from other sugary drinks by providing protein, calcium and other nutrients. However, sweetened milk or milk alternatives should not take the place of plain milk or unsweetened soy beverage since they contain added sugar.

100% juice
Juice made from 100% fruit can be a healthier choice than other sweet drinks because it contains some of the natural vitamins and nutrients (such as vitamin C) found in fruit. However, fruit juice - even those labelled ‘no sugar added’ - still contains a lot of naturally-occurring sugar and is a concentrated source of calories.

Drinking juice doesn’t provide same feeling of fullness as eating a serving of fruit or vegetables. Children should have no more than one serving (1/2 cup or 125 mL) of fruit juice each day. 

How much water do we need?

  • It is important that a person drink enough fluids to quench their thirst and to feel hydrated.
  • Water is an excellent choice since it has no calories, no sugar, and is generally free and easily available.
  • The amount of water a person needs to drink every day depends on a variety of factors, including age, weight, and gender. Air temperature, humidity, physical activity level and overall health are also factors.
  • Before, during, and after any physical activity, kids need to drink plenty of water especially in hot and humid weather.
  • When being active, a good goal is to drink ½ to 2 cups (125 to 500 mL) of water every 15 to 20 minutes. 

How much water do infants and toddlers need?

It is recommended that infants breastfeed exclusively during their first 6 months to meet all their nutrition and hydration needs. They do not need additional water, unless advised by a doctor. Juices and other liquids should be avoided.

After 12 months of age,  juice and sugary drinks should still be limited. Offer kids water when they are thirsty. Parents are encouraged to continue to breastfeed their children up to two years of age or beyond. Breastfeeding may reduce an infant’s risk of obesity later in life.

Which is better: tap or bottled water?

  • Tap water is the best drinking water choice.
  • The City of Hamilton’s drinking water consistently meets or exceeds all Ontario Drinking Water Standards.
  • Tap water is free, widely available and convenient. It’s easy to set out a pitcher during meal time, at group activities or at community events. 
  • Kids can carry a refillable water bottle wherever they go. 
  • Drinking tap water is good for the environment. It helps reduce the number disposable plastic bottles going into the land fill.

Strict standards have been developed and require municipalities to test their water sources constantly to make sure they are safe.  Learn more about water quality.

Community Programs

  • Water does Wonders School Challenge
  • Sip Smart!TM Ontario Classroom program
  • Water themed educational summer camps
  • Water Logged Challenge at local recreation centres

Community Investments

  • Hydration stations at schools, recreation centres, and Ontario Early Year Centres
  • Hydration station at Captain Cornelius Park

Community Strategies

  • Fruit and Water Sports Initiative
  • Water does Wonders Pledge
  • Ongoing community engagement supported by the Hamilton Community Foundation

Run. Jump. Play. Every day promotes physical activity through active play, active transportation, sports, and planned exercise.

Why run, jump, and play?

  • You have fun playing with friends!
  • Improve self-confidence
  • Improve learning and attention
  • Improve mental wellbeing
  • Strengthen bones and muscles (including your heart!) 
  • Maintain a healthy weight

How much running, jumping, and playing do children need every day?

Choose the age-specific guideline to learn how much activity your child needs every day:
Canadian Physical Guidelines for ages 0 to 4 yrs (PDF, 475KB)
Canadian Physical Guidelines for ages 5 to 11 yrs (PDF, 72KB)
Canadian Physical Guidelines for ages 12 to 17 yrs (PDF, 72KB)

Community Investments

  • New bike racks will be installed in selected elementary schools.
  • Free bike helmets in the nine elementary schools that are selected for the Ride Smart Cycling Education Program.
  • Select elementary schools will get new playground markings, physical activity equipment, and peer-led recess training.
  • Bike parking facilities (cages, lockers) will be purchased for the Hamilton Public Library.
  • Path through the forest woodlot in Captain Cornelius Park will be designed with community involvement. Check back for more information. 

Community Strategies

  • Experts in Hamilton will work together to help your kids get active.
  • A physical literacy tool will be developed to help share what works and what doesn’t in a physical activity program.
  • Research teams will conduct evaluations on the effectiveness of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge.

Connect with Us

Healthy Kids Community Challenge
City of Hamilton 

Phone: 905-546-2424 Ext. 3766

Follow us @cityofhamilton using #HealthyKidsON 

Connect with us at HealthyKidsHamilton