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Health research project uses web-based data gathering


Vancouver, BC – January 26, 2004 – Dr Diane Finegood, scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism, and Diabetes (INMD), with the support of the CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA), today launched a national health research initiative that will gather information about what motivates people to get active, while encouraging Canadians to clip on pedometers and count their daily steps.

Canada on the Move is a health research project designed to get Canadians to “donate their steps” to health research. Canadians both with and without pedometers are encouraged to join this national research effort by logging onto a website (www.canadaonthemove.ca) to submit information about their daily total number of steps and factors that influence their level of physical activity.

Researchers currently know that an active person walks about 10,000 steps a day. Through the participation of individual Canadians in Canada on the Move, experts and researchers will collect and analyze important data that will add to knowledge and may help efforts to increase activity and reduce obesity.

“My colleagues and I took part in the planning behind Canada on the Move because we were drawn to the potential for valuable data supporting our research,” says Ron Plotnikoff, associate professor at the University of Alberta. “We believe this unique initiative may have benefits to the health of Canadians by motivating positive behavioural changes through a process we could monitor and assess.”

The project has already attracted a number of private and public sector partners wanting to help Canadians commit to a more active lifestyle. Kellogg Canada, for example, recently inserted step counters in 800,000 specially marked boxes of cereal and is encouraging Canadians to log onto the web site. Sun Microsystems of Canada, in partnership with Blue Spark, contributed to the development of the website and database. The University of Alberta has also launched their own U of A on the Move initiative and provided support to researchers at the university engaged in refinement and testing of the web site content.

“These partners have been essential to getting this project off the ground on a very short timeline, but they represent the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of groups interested in participating in this unique multi-sector initiative,” says Dr Finegood.