Power4Bones responds to research on the nutritional habits of Canadian children.

Current evidence shows that Canadian children have poor quality diets.   In addition to a low intake of vegetables and fruits and a high intake of nutrient-poor foods (salty snacks and soft drinks), the research also highlights low intakes of milk products. 

This translates into low intakes of both calcium and vitamin D – about half the recommended intake for both nutrients within this age group.  This is an important finding because adolescence is the crucial time for building maximum bone mass.

The Power4Bones program is built on a social marketing framework. Social marketing involves using the tools and techniques of commercial marketing to achieve behaviour change instead of selling a product. Like commercial campaigns, social-marketing campaigns like Power4Bones involve:

A needs assessment: Finding out what our audience knows about bone health, and building from there. What are the barriers to behaviour change? What makes a program better for teachers?

Modelling and pilot-testing: Building a product from the ground up, and testing and verifying assumptions along the way. We tested new ideas with kids and teachers at every stage of development, from sketches to finished product!

Focus groups and message refinement: Every tool of the program was tested in real classroom settings. If tools did not help teach the learning objectives, they were adapted or discarded.


*Garriguet, D. Nutrition: Findings from the Canadian Community Health Survey (Cycle 2.2). Overview of Canadians Eating Habits. Statistics Canada, 2004.

*Hanning RM, Woodruff SJ, Lambraki I, et al. Nutrient intakes and food consumption patterns among Ontario students in grades six, seven, and eight. Canadian Journal of Public Health 2007;98(1):12-16.

*Calengor K. Web SPAN: A Preliminary Report of Nutrition and Physical Activity Behaviours of Alberta Youth. 2006 [Accessed 2007 19 Apr].