What makes a healthy family? Find out at the inaugural Creating Healthy Families Together conference at the University of Guelph Saturday, Oct. 29.

The free public event will take place at the Summerlee Science Complex from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

GFHSConferencePromoPosterOrganized by U of G researchers leading the 20-year-long Guelph Family Health Study (GFHS), the conference will offer ideas for promoting healthy family habits and behaviours.

The study team hopes to eventually work with 3,000 families around Guelph.

“GFHS recognizes this is a huge challenge, and we are focused on supporting families in making changes that are meaningful to them,” said conference organizer Kathryn Walton, a PhD candidate in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition (FRAN).

Angelo Tremblay, a professor at Laval University, will discuss the Quebec Family Study. U of G professor Emma Allen-Vercoe, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, will talk about the gut microbiome and health.

GFHS students and participants will also discuss their experience with the study so far.

Organizers plan to run annual conferences to share information with the community.

“With the Internet age, we often hear from families that it is hard to find trusted information,” said FRAN professor Jess Haines, a co-leader of the GFHS.

“The GFHS is committed to both exploring new knowledge through the best research available and sharing our findings. Creating Healthy Families Together is aimed at making research and our findings accessible to families with young children as well as members of the community who are interested in supporting family health.”

Creating-Health-Families-Together-kidsMany families know the importance of creating healthy habits but find it difficult to follow through, said study co-leader Prof. David Ma, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences.

“Most of us know we need to eat nutritious food, stay active and get good sleep to be healthy, but the reality is that Canadians aren’t keeping healthy habits,” he said.

“All of these unhealthy habits have consequences, such as chronic diseases, or being overweight or obese. Parents are an important influence on a child’s health behaviours. We think helping families develop healthy habits early will reduce their risks later in life.”

The conference includes free parking, as well as refreshments and lunch. For more information and to register, visit the GFHS website.