“Today we live in a society where the average Canadian child is more connected to a screen than to the outdoors and nature. These behavioural habits form at an early age and continue over time. Meaning, an inactive 4-year-old is likely to be inactive when they are 8 and 15, with health risk compounding over time.”- Valerie Carson
Associate professor Valerie Carson’s research program is addressing this critical public health issue. The overall goal is to understand how to effectively promote healthy habits of regular physical activity and minimal sedentary behaviour—including screen time—among young children. According to Carson, achieving this goal will help set children on a trajectory of optimal physical, social, emotional, and mental health throughout life.
Carson received the one of the two inaugural Killam Accelerator Research Awards at the 2019 University of Alberta Killam Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, October 16. She joins 29 University of Alberta professors, post-doctoral researcher and graduate students in receiving a Killam award.
“Funding targeting new investigators is integral in enabling early career researchers to become established and to become future leaders in our fields,” says Carson. “I am honoured to be one of the inaugural University of Alberta Killam Accelerator Research Award recipients and I am grateful to the University of Alberta through the generous Izaak Walton and Dorothy Killam bequest for the support it will provide my research program.
Over the next three years, funds from this award will help support Carson’s ongoing research studies as well as new pilot studies in her laboratory that are addressing her overall research program goal.
“Ultimately, findings from this work will have important implications for future research, practice, and policy that aim to promote a healthy start for our youngest Canadians.”
The Killam awards date back to 1966, when the U of A received $14 million from the estate of the late Izaak and Dorothy Killam to establish the trust. Various awards are given every year to professors, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students.
Valerie Carson is an associate professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation and a member of the University of Alberta's Women and Children's Health Research Institute.