“Welcome” in the Oneida Nation language


“Welcome” in the Ojibway Nation language


“Welcome” in the Mohawk Nation language


“I am glad to see you” in the Kwiinga-neewul Nation language


“Welcome! I am glad you all came” in the Nulelìntàm èli paèkw Nation language


“Welcome” in the Ojibway Mississaugas of the New Credit Nation language


“Welcome” in the Cree Nation language


“Welcome” in the Ojibway Nation language


“Welcome” in the Dene Nation language


“Welcome” in the Inuktitut Nation language


“Welcome” in the Huron-Wendat Nation language


“Welcome” in the Cayuga Nation language


“Hello” in the Metis Nation language


“Welcome” in the Onondaga Nation language


“Welcome” in the Seneca Nation language

ČWÉ·'N |

“Welcome” in the Tuscarora Nation language

together we can grow, share and learn
Alyssa Heil
Alyssa Heil Healthy Weights Connection
London Site Coordinator
N'Amerind Friendship Centre Phone 519-672-0131 x251
Jodi Blue
Jodi Blue Healthy Weights Connection
Midland-Penetanguishene Site Coordinator
Métis Nation of Ontario, Midland Office Phone 705-526-6335 x223
Lenora Gilbert
Lenora Gilbert Healthy Weights Connection
Niagara Site Coordinator
Niagara Region Native Centre Phone 908-688-6484
Piotr Wilk
Piotr Wilk Healthy Weights Connection
Co-Academic Lead
Western University Phone 519-661-2111 x89108
Martin Cooke
Martin Cooke Healthy Weights Connection
Co-Academic Lead
University of Waterloo Phone 519-888-4567 x36585

Our Goals

Healthy Weights Connection strives to improve existing community resources and access new resources to achieve and maintain healthy weights among Aboriginal children and youth. 

Through awareness, communication, cooperation and collaboration, Healthy Weights Connection strives to help local partners:


The risk of obesity 
among Aboriginal children
and youth by improving
how local health and
wellness organizations
serve families


programming available
for children and
their families


Relationships and
collaborations among
components of the
health and social
service systems


Healthy Weights Connection has specific short, medium and long term goals. 

Short-term goals include increasing awareness of current local services, of Aboriginal culture and people, and improving partnerships among the organizations that serve First Nations and Métis children and families. We believe this will result in access to better services for families in the community over the 1-3 year period. 

Our medium-term goals focus on making changes in the four to seven year range, and will continue to impact systems/organizations and families, but also look to make impacts on society.  Ideal impacts will include improved system organization and new services addressing previous gaps in service, while impacts on society will be seen through policy change at the regional, provincial and national levels to support these changes. Families will see more tangible outcomes through increased food security, improved healthy eating and physical activity habits for children resulting in a reduction of obesity among children and youth. 

[ back to top ]

Long-term goals are expected to go beyond the length of the Healthy Weights Connection project, attempting to make sustainable impacts in about eight years within all three main areas: systems and organizations, society, and families. It would be expected that previous changes made at the system and organization level and to society will be steady without the support of the Healthy Weights Connection project. In addition, lessons learned through the project would be implemented within other communities in Canada.

Download our brochure

What We Do


Healthy weight is influenced by families, neighbourhoods, and broader community environments, as well as by individual factors. All aspects must be addressed to have an impact and ensure that Aboriginal children and youth enjoy and experience a high quality of life that includes optimal health.

Aboriginal children and families are served by a variety of Aboriginal organizations, which provide a variety of social, cultural, and health services. They are also served by mainstream organizations which include local public health agencies, clinicians, hospitals, and other social service agencies. The result is a complex system of multiple organizations and multiple settings, potentially affecting the risk of obesity among Aboriginal children in different ways. 

More can be done to ensure that programs, services, and initiatives provide the maximum benefit for Aboriginal children and their families.


Healthy Weights Connection currently operates in London, Midland-Penetanguishene and the Niagara Region, Ontario. In each community, Site Coordinators build and nurture partnerships with and between local services, programs, and initiatives. 


  • Conducting resource and program scans of local health systems
  • Building and nurturing partnerships among local services, programs, and initiatives through in-person meetings, forum meetings, e-mail and telephone contact and online communications
  • Highlighting culturally-appropriate services and programs  
  • Supporting collaborative programming through funding application support 

[ back to top ]

Healthy Weights Connection helps organizations from the health, cultural, and social spheres come together to share and understand, and to do their work to improve the health of communities. All organizations that influence the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal children, youth and their families belong in the Healthy Weights Connection, particularly those with programs and services that have a direct impact on healthy weight.  

Our Team

Healthy Weights Connection currently operates in the areas of London, Ontario and Midland-Penetanguishene, Ontario.  Site Coordinators build and nurture partnerships with and between local community partners. The N’Amerind (London) Friendship Centre, Métis Nation of Ontario and the Niagara Regional Native Centre host the Site Coordinators in these communities.  

Overall, Healthy Weights Connection administration and coordination is conducted by the University of Western Ontario and the University of Waterloo, in consultation with our local partners and community members. The Propel Centre for Population Health Impact supports Healthy Weights Connection with evaluating its progress towards the project goals and determining what factors facilitate and hinder this progress. 

[ back to top ]

Healthy Weights Connection embraces a participatory approach by encouraging community members, including elders, youth, and families, to guide the activities undertaken by Site Coordinators. Community members understand the needs of their community and can recommend actions to be taken by Healthy Weights Connection to reach the desired outcomes for their communities. 


PHASE 1 (2010 to 2012) //

Healthy Weights Connection began in 2010 in London, Ontario, and service providers in the surrounding Standing Stone: Oneida Nation of the Thames, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, and Munsee-Delaware Nation. During Phase 1, Healthy Weights Connection, then called Healthy Weights Forum, brought London area organizations, programs, services and initiatives together to create new partnerships, events and funding opportunities.   

Specific activities undertaken as part of Phase I (London area) included:

  • An environmental scan of the local community organizations that serve First Nations and Métis children in the community,  including those on the local First Nations;
  • A series of in-person meetings with these organizations (roughly 40) to understand their activities, resources, and needs; 
  • A review of the intervention literature to identify the programmes that have been proven to be successful in promoting healthier weights among Indigenous children elsewhere;
  • Development of a website and e-mail list for distributing information in upcoming meetings, new programmes, and funding opportunities; and
  • Support for several trial collaborative projects, including community gardens, health promotion events, and the production and translation of health promotion material in Aboriginal languages. 

PHASE 2 (2013 to 2017) //

[ back to top ]

In 2013, Healthy Weights Connection expanded to the Midland-Penetanguishene area, with support from the Métis Nation of Ontario. In 2016, a third site was expanded to the Niagara Region, with support from the Niagara Regional Native Centre. Evaluation efforts also expanded to look at the impacts of Healthy Weights Connection in each community, and the Healthy Weights Connection implementation process. The Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo joined Healthy Weights Connection in 2013 to coordinate our evaluation efforts. 


Funding for Healthy Weights Connection is provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Innovation Strategy: Achieving Healthier Weights In Canada’s Communities. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Public Health Agency of Canada.


We use the term “Aboriginal peoples” to refer to people who identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit, regardless of legal “status.”