HealtheSteps (2013-2016)

The HealtheSteps™ Lifestyle Prescription Program was developed by Dr. Robert Petrella and his team at Western University. HealtheSteps™ was created in response to the growing need for a practical, evidence-based tool to address the growing epidemic of chronic disease. A randomized controlled trial funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada and leading industry partners found that participants in HealtheSteps™ increased their step counts, decreased sitting time, and improved their overall diet through the 6 month program[1]. Program coaches and participants also found the program to be acceptable for those at risk for chronic disease[2]. 

This program pairs a local HealtheSteps™ coach with individuals at risk or diagnosed with a chronic disease. Participants meet every other month with their coach to co-create personalized healthy lifestyle prescriptions to improve lifestyle in three core areas:

  1. Exercise Levels –Using an innovative STEP™ Test, the coach and participant will identify the participant’s personal fitness level and work towards improving cardiovascular fitness.
  2. Physical Activity Levels – Together, the coach and participant aim to increase daily step counts for the participant.
  3. Healthy Eating – Use Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide to promote healthy eating habits.

Since its establishment, HealtheSteps™ has reached diverse communities across Canada and continues to expand into different sites including family health teams, community centres, and schools, both nationally and internationally. HealtheSteps™ is endorsed by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and is a signature program of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Canadian Diabetes Strategy[3]. 

To learn more watch our introductory video and visit our website

For more information, please contact: Wendy Blunt 

  1. Gill DP, Blunt W, Boa Sorte Silva NC, Stiller-Moldovan C, Zou GY, Petrella RJ: The HealtheSteps™ lifestyle prescription program to improve physical activity and modifiable risk factors for chronic disease: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial. BMC Public Health 2019, 19(1):841.

  2. Blunt W, Gill DP, Riggin B, Brown JB, Petrella RJ: Process evaluation of the HealtheSteps™ lifestyle prescription program. Translational Behavioral Medicine 2018:iby005-iby005.

  3. Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry: HealtheSteps TM: A signature program of the Canadian Diabetes Strategy. In.; 2013.

 Related Citations:

  1. Gill DP, Blunt W, Bartol C, Pulford RW, De Cruz A, Simmavong PK, Gavarkovs A, Newhouse I, Pearson E, Ostenfeldt B et al: HealtheSteps™ Study Protocol: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial promoting active living and healthy lifestyles in at-risk Canadian adults delivered in primary care and community-based clinics. BMC Public Health 2017, 17(1):173.

  2. Simmavong PK, Hillier LM, Petrella RJ: Lessons Learned in the Implementation of HealtheSteps: An Evidence-Based Healthy Lifestyle Program. Health Promot Pract 2018, 20(2):300-310.