Healthy Active Living and Obesity (HALO)

The focus of the HALO group’s research is to:

  • Promote and assess healthy active living among children and youth.
  • Identify, examine and address environmental, behavioural, psychosocial, and biological factors related to healthy active living and obesity in children and youth.
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate strategies to prevent, manage, and treat obesity and lifestyle-related diseases in children and youth.

To learn more about HALO’s research, please visit the HALO Research web page

Related News

Research Projects

  1. Relationships among children’s independent mobility, active transportation and physical activity: a multi-site cross-sectional study


    Keywords: active travel; children’s autonomy; pedometers; urbanization; multilevel models

  2. Introduction to the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults aged 18-64 years and Adults aged 65 years or older: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep


    Support for the development of the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults aged 18–64 years and Adults aged 65 years or older: an integration of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep was provided by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Queen’s University, and ParticipACTION.

  3. Sedentary behaviour and health in adults: an overview of systematic reviews


    Our findings suggest that high levels of sedentary behaviour are unfavourably associated with cognitive function, depression, function and disability, physical activity levels, and physical health-related quality of life in adults. Our results also suggest that reducing or breaking up periods of prolonged sitting may have beneficial effects on markers of cardiometabolic risk and body composition. Although sedentary behaviour was generally associated with negative health outcomes, there may be favourable associations between computer and Internet use and cognitive function in older adults. Our findings have important public health implications and suggest that adults should avoid accumulating high levels of sedentary behaviour. Future work is needed to identify whether a dose–response relationship exists between sedentary behaviour and these health outcomes, and whether these relationships are consistent across sex, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

  4. Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults aged 18-64 years and Adults aged 65 years or older: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep


    The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults aged 18–64 years and Adults aged 65 years or older: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep completes the set of 24-Hour Movement Guidelines that together provide recommendations for healthy movement behaviours for the whole day for all Canadians. The Guidelines were generated based on the best available evidence with extensive consultation and stakeholder feedback. The CP recognized that to adopt and sustain any movement behaviour in today’s environment presents very real challenges for all adults. It is hoped that the shift in focus from movement behaviours in isolation to the integration of all movement behaviours over the whole day will provide movement options for adults, treatment options for practitioners, and greater opportunities for public health promotion.

  5. Sedentary Behaviour Research Network members support new Canadian 24-hour Movement Guideline recommendations


    The authors are grateful to Dr. Jennifer Tomasone and her students, who were responsible for the administration of the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults Stakeholder Survey from which the Sedentary Behavior Research Network sub-analysis was drawn.

  6. Physical inactivity as a risk factor for all-cause mortality in Brazil (1990-2017)


    It could be concluded that physical inactivity contributed to a substantial number of deaths in Brazil and in the different Brazilian states from 1990 to 2017. From 1990 to 2017, a decrease in standardized death rate from all causes attributable to physical inactivity was observed in Brazil. Brazilian states with the highest social inequalities showed lower reductions (from 1990 to 2017) in age-standardized mortality rate for all causes attributable to physical inactivity. The results of the present study show the importance of preventing risk factors for noncommunicable chronic diseases in all Brazilian states, and greater effort in combating social and economic inequities related to the living conditions of the population is needed, so that the adoption of active and healthy lifestyle has greater reach in all regions of Brazil.

  7. Prevalence and sociodemographic factors associated with meeting the 24-hour movement guidelines in a sample of Brazilian adolescents


    Approximately 3% of the participants met the MVPA, screen-time, and sleep duration recommendations simultaneously, while this proportion was 0.2% when accelerometer data were used for MVPA and sleep duration. Adherence to the sleep duration recommendation was higher than to the screen-time or MVPA recommendations. Boys were more likely to meet the MVPA recommendations, but less likely to meet sleep duration and scree-time recommendations, and age was positively associated with adhering to the screen-time recommendation. Future policies and interventions should promote adherence to 24-hours movement behaviors in an integrated manner.

  8. Association between lifestyle behaviors and health-related quality of life in a sample of Brazilian adolescents


    This study identified that adolescents who spent more time on sports but not on non-sports physical activities had higher scores of HRQoL. The time spent in work-related screen activities was inversely associated with HRQoL score. However, this association was not observed for recreational screen time indicators (i.e., watching videos, playing videogames, or using social media). In addition, girls, adolescents who experimented with drugs in their life course, those with higher consumption of ultra-processed foods, and those who sleep insufficiently reported lower scores of HRQoL. These findings suggest that promoting sports and adequate sleep, and preventing the use of drugs and excessive workloads among adolescents may be effective strategies to improve HRQoL.

  9. Association of screen time and cardiometabolic risk in school-aged children


    Highlights • No evidence of an association between children’s parental-reported screen time and total cardiometabolic risk score. •Weak association between increased screen time and reduced HDL cholesterol in children. •No sex or age interactions detected between parental-reported screen time and cardiometabolic risk.

  10. Healthy movement behaviours in children and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic: Exploring the role of the neighbourhood environment


    To conclude, this study provides important insights into the movement patterns of children and youth, and our findings highlight the importance of the neighbourhood environment in enabling healthier behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings will inform public health policies as we recover from this current crisis and prepare for future pandemics. The results will also inform urban planning policy and design guidelines in the post-COVID-19 period. As we continue to gain novel insights from our experiences during the pandemic, these learnings will be important for creating stronger, healthier, and more resilient communities.

  11. Healthy movement behaviours in children and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic: Exploring the role of the neighbourhood environment Author links open overlay panel


    This paper explores patterns of increased/ decreased physical activity, sedentary and sleep behaviours among Canadian children and youth aged 5-17 years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and examines how these changes are associated with the built environment near residential locations.

  12. Profiles of active transportation among children and adolescents in the Global Matrix 3.0 initiative: a 49-country comparison


    This work allowed for a deeper exploration of the active transportation information reported by all the countries participating in the Global Matrix 3.0. Based on our findings, we identified the need to standardize definitions of active transportation to be able to make more meaningful comparisons. The LPA conducted allows for the inference that countries belonging to a specific profile have a greater probability of sharing certain characteristics among them compared to the countries belonging to other profiles. Given the variation by geographic region and even HDI, this approach is useful for identification of more meaningful groupings that can facilitate the cross-fertilization of efforts to promote active transportation, and therefore, to “power the movement to get kids moving”, as is intended by the Global Matrix initiative [171]. The Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance can contribute to improving active travel surveillance providing guidance to countries involved in future versions of the Global Matrix. A more comprehensive approach to active transportation surveillance that considers duration, distance, frequency, direction, other destinations than school and the contribution of active transportation to school to overall active transportation, could improve the understanding of this behaviour and its potential to increase overall physical activity.

  13. Canadian children’s and youth’s adherence to the 24-h movement guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic: A decision tree analysis


    Our results show that specific characteristics interact to contribute to (non)adherence to the movement behavior recommendations. Results highlight the importance of targeting parents’ perceived capability for the promotion of children's and youth's movement behaviors during challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, paying particular attention to enhancing parental perceived capability to restrict screen time.

  14. Impact of the COVID-19 virus outbreak on movement and play behaviours of Canadian children and youth: a national survey


    This study provides evidence of immediate collateral consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak, demonstrating an adverse impact on the movement and play behaviours of Canadian children and youth. These findings can guide efforts to preserve and promote child health during the COVID-19 outbreak and crisis recovery period, and to inform strategies to mitigate potential harm during future pandemics.

  15. Associations between duration and type of electronic screen use and cognition in US children


    We report the relationship between cognition and screen use in 11,875 US children. Higher TV and video watching were negatively associated with cognition.

  16. Comparing and assessing physical activity guidelines for children and adolescents: a systematic literature review and analysis


    There is growing global interest in physical activity and sedentary behaviour guideline development. More recently some countries have included sleep in their guidelines focusing on movement behaviours during a 24 h period.. The findings from this review indicate extensive variability in the quality of country guidelines.

  17. Sleep and screen time are more linked with academic achievement than physical activity


    High school students who met the screen time and sleep guidelines showed better academic performance than those who did not meet any guidelines.

  18. New Data regarding decreased physical activity during the Global Pandemic


    The time spent in places associated with physical activity such as parks, beaches, and community gardens was down by 31%, and travel by public transport, which is also associated with physical activity, was down by 59%.

  19. Combinations of physical activity and screen time recommendations and their association with overweight/obesity in adolescents.


    Children meeting both the physical activity and screen time recommendations are less likely to be classified as overweight/obese compared with any other combination. Future efforts are needed to target both MVPA and sedentary behaviour to address public health concerns such as excess weight.

  20. Body mass index and movement behaviors among schoolchildren from 13 countries across a continuum of human development indices: A multinational cross‐sectional study


    Our findings show distinct differences in BMI and movement behavior profiles between urban and rural children in Mozambique. Mean BMI z‐scores, MVPA, and SED differed by country HDI. These findings support the need to include both rural and urban participants in study samples.

  21. 24-Hour Movement Behaviors and Impulsivity


    Data from this cross-sectional observational study were part of the first annual curated release of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study. Participants included 4524 children between the ages of 8 and 11 years.

  22. Understanding parent perceptions of healthy physical activity for their child with a chronic medical condition: A cross-sectional study


    Over one-third of parents reported having questions about physical activity for their child with a chronic medical condition, suggesting substantial uncertainty even among children reported as active. Presence of parent uncertainty is associated with parent reports of the child being unwell or a history of cardiac arrhythmia

  23. Higher screen time, lower muscular endurance, and decreased agility limit the physical literacy of children with epilepsy


    Children with epilepsy demonstrate poor physical literacy levels, with potential immediate and long-lasting negative impacts on general health and psychosocial well-being. Programs promoting physical literacy in children with epilepsy should be encouraged, specifically interventions decreasing screen time and enhancing muscular endurance and motor skills, thereby facilitating healthier lifestyles.

  24. Sensitivity, specificity, and reliability of the Get Active Questionnaire for identifying children with medically necessary special considerations for physical activity


    The sensitivity, specificity, and reliability of the Get Active Questionnaire (GAQ) for identifying children needing special considerations during physical activity was evaluated among parents of 207 children aged 3 to 14 years

  25. Insulin Resistance and Hypertension in Obese Youth With Sleep-Disordered Breathing Treated With Positive Airway Pressure: A Prospective Multicenter Study


    In youth with obesity and SDB, metabolic dysfunction and hypertension were highly prevalent. Larger, longer-term studies are needed to determine whether PAP improves cardiometabolic outcomes in obese youth.

  26. Resistance Training, Alone Or In Combination With Aerobic Training, May Provide Psychological Benefits In Adolescents With Overweight Or Obesity


    Resistance training, alone or in combination with aerobic training, may provide psychological benefits in adolescents with overweight or obesity, and therefore could be an alternative to aerobic training for some individuals in the biological and psychological management of adolescent obesity

  27. Does Neck-to-Waist Ratio Predict Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children?


    Neck-to-waist ratio, an index of body fat distribution, predicts OSA in older children and youth, especially in those who were overweight/obese.


  1. Annick Buchholz

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  2. Jean-Philippe Chaput

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  3. Gary Goldfield

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  4. Sherri Katz

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  5. Patricia Longmuir

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  6. Mark S. Tremblay

    Senior Scientist and Director, Healthy Active Living and Obesity, CHEO Research Institute

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  7. Roger Zemek

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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