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Jul 2016

Childhood Obesity


Nearly one in three (32%) Canadian children are at an unhealthy weight. Guide conversations about healthy lifestyle choices and goal-setting using the Preventing Childhood Obesity Tool with paediatric patients (2-17 years of age) and their families, irrespective of the patient’s weight. 

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In The Know: Preventing Childhood Obesity

Our video on Preventing Childhood Obesity, featuring Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, with information about how to talk to young patients about healthy lifestyles, and how primary care providers can use this tool in their practice. Visit:


About the tool

Childhood obesity poses an urgent and serious challenge globally. Nearly one in three (32%) Canadian children are at an unhealthy weight. Children with obesity are four times more likely to remain obese adults, and are at an increased risk of developing chronic physical and mental health problems.

  • Discussing healthy lifestyles and agreeing on a plan
  • Measuring and documenting growth
  • Interpreting growth
  • Completing a healthy lifestyle record

The Preventing Childhood Obesity Tool is one of several resources developed as part of the 2014 to 2017 Knowledge Translation in Primary Care Initiative. This multi-year initiative was a collaboration between the Centre for Effective Practice (CEP), Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP), and Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO). Funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, this initiative supported primary care providers with the development of a series of clinical tools and health information resources. Learn more about the Knowledge Translation in Primary Care Initiative.

As part of this initiative, CEP conducted a Primary Care Needs Assessment to determine topics of interest to primary care providers. In this survey providers identified the need for more effective resources to help patients with childhood obesity.

The Preventing Childhood Obesity Tool was developed using CEP’s integrated knowledge translation development methods. CEP ensures that health care providers are engaged throughout the tool development process, using a User Centered Design methodology to test the usability of tools from a provider perspective. For the Preventing Childhood Obesity project, CEP worked with the clinical lead, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, and a clinical working group.

The project team reviewed and evaluated evidence from clinical practice guidelines and relevant studies. The information and recommendations included in the final version of the Tool reflects currently best available evidence.

Clinical leads

  • Yoni Freedhoff


    Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, is an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa, and is the medical director of Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute. Dr. Freedhoff is widely considered to be Canada’s most outspoken obesity expert and he appears regularly in both national and international media. His award winning blog Weighty Matters has enjoyed over 12 million visits, and he also writes regularly for Psychology Today, US News and World Report, The Globe & Mail, and the Huffington Post. His first book for the public, The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work was a number one national Canadian best seller, while his handbook geared at health professionals, Best Weight: An Practical Guide to Office-Based Obesity Management, at his and his co-author’s request, is freely available for download from the Canadian Obesity Network.

Clinical Working Group 

A Clinical Working Group comprised of a family physician, paediatricians and a primary care nurse practitioner oversaw the development of this tool:

  • Mario Elia, MD, CCFP
  • Patricia Parkin, MD, FRCPC
  • Daniel Flanders, MD, FRCPC
  • Luisa Barton, DNP, PHCNP

Conflict of interest

The clinical lead received compensation for his role. 

Focus group and usability participants received a small token of appreciation (e.g. gift certificate).

Target End User Feedback and Expert Opinion

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