The Children’s Hospital Foundation says a week-long pediatric heart camp in Saskatchewan just may be a vital first step in developing a Canada-wide chronic disease management program.
Lynn Redl-Huntington with the CHAMPS Healthy Heart Camp, says it focusses on the unique needs of the approximately 2-thousand children in Saskatchewan living with congenital heart defects.
It was launched last year as a pilot project at the University of Saskatchewan.
Redl-Huntington says this camp is a huge help for these kids to gain confidence and deal with their anxiety.
Targeted to children ages 7-15, CHAMPS includes physical activity, nutrition sessions, work with a clinical child psychologist, and swimming, which is a highlight for many of the young participants.
To date, CHAMPS organizers have collected data from approximately 30 children, finding no difference in physical activity levels or body fat amongst children with congenital heart defects compared to their healthy peers.
Children with CHD, however, require a longer time for heart rate recovery after exercise.