Choose to Move: Enhancing the health and mobility of older British Columbians


  • Heather McKay
    University of British Columbia
  • Joanie Sims-Gould
    University of British Columbia
  • Callista Ottoni
    CHHM / Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute
  • Kahir Lalji
    United Way of the Lower Mainland
  • Rebecca Tunnacliffe
    BC Recreation and Parks Association
  • Marcy Cohen
    BC Raising the Profile Project


  • Samantha Gray
    University of British Columbia

In Canada, and elsewhere, there is a continual battle to find effective ways to engage older citizens in physical activity programs. Despite the known benefits of physical activity to counter the risks of a host of chronic diseases, only 13 percent of Canadian seniors meet recommended physical activity guidelines. For over three years, the BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) and the United Way of the Lower Mainland (UWLM) have been collaborating to address these issues.

Most recently, under the auspices of the Active Aging BC (ABC) program, these organizations came together to co-create, deliver, adapt and evaluate a physical activity intervention (Choose to Move) and disseminate Active Aging grants. ABC (funded by BC Ministry of Health) enhances the health, mobility and social connectedness of low active older adults. The partners are experts in implementation and dissemination of community-based programs. There is also a partnership with the Raise the Profile Project (Cohen) and participation in the Executive Organizing Committee for the Provincial Seniors Summit (November 2017).

As researchers, there is a reliant on data, graphs and figures to convince communities and policy makers at local, provincial and national levels to take action toward improving health. However, the voices of those most affected by inaction speak much louder than researchers can.

The objectives of this award are to:

Ultimately, through life-changing stories, the aim is to raise and change the profile of older British Columbians. With evidence from the Choose to Move impact evaluation, stories will be integrated to illustrate that there are effective, evidence-based solutions to older adult physical inactivity. Practitioners and organizations who serve the needs of the older population will also be made aware of Choose to Move. Finally, through BCRPA, UWLM and RPP channels, this KT product will be disseminated and used to recruit older adult participants into the Choose to Move programs.