Mothers in motion

About the Project

Women in low socioeconomic status (LSES) circumstances are more likely to report that there is not enough information provided about local opportunities for physical activities and sport and/or they lack awareness on how to go about building physical activities in their lives. Many barriers, including financial (e.g. childcare, transportation, program costs), social (lack of flexible programming), language and cultural (lack of awareness, lack of social and family support systems), impact upon the physical activity habits of LSES mothers and ultimately, their families.

A new initiative focusing on increasing physical activity and sport opportunities for LSES mothers was developed with these objectives:

  • to identify barriers and antecedents that prevent and limit participation;
  • to identify solutions and best practices for increasing physical activity;
  • to develop physical activity program development resources for multi-sectoral practitioners; and
  • to increase community capacity for physical activity and sport opportunities.

Partners involved on the Advisory Committee for the project include: Canadian Institute of Child Health, Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, Canadian Public Health Association, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Native Council of Nova Scotia, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada (ex-officio), Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health (Ontario), Sandy Hill Community Health Centre (Ontario) and CAAWS.

CAAWS gratefully acknowledges funding received through the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Activities undertaken over the course of the project

Over a two-month period, CAAWS conducted a series of cross-Canada focus groups to:

  • Hear from mothers of low socioeconomic status (LSES) and physical activity promoters about their physical activity challenges and solutions; and
  • Assess the physical activity levels of LSES mothers using a women's specific Physical Activity Survey Tool.
The results of the focus groups are contained in a comprehensive report. In addition, CAAWS has developed tools and resources to assist physical activity promoters in better addressing specific community issues and barriers with respect to accessibility, availability and affordability of physical activity and sport opportunities for LSES mothers.

Advisory Committee

Beth Mansfield, Consultant to the Project
Natacha Ducharme, Consultant to the Project
St├ęphanie Parker, Project Manager, CAAWS
Ali Riel, Project Manager, CAAWS (Maternity Leave)
Karin Lofstrom, Executive Director, CAAWS
Dr. Robin Moore-Or, Canadian Institute of Child Health
Sharon Jollimore, Director - National Initiatives and Alliances, Canadian Parks and Recreation Association
Lynn Chiarelli, Canadian Public Health Association
Tracey Johnson, Native Council of Nova Scotia, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
Karl Saidla, Public Policy Analyst, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada
Pam Naymark, Community Health Promoter, Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health (Ontario)
Louise Besner, Nurse, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre (Ontario)


As a leader in Canadian sport and physical activity, CAAWS fosters quality experiences and equitable support for girls and women. It has a vision to see a sport and physical activity system where girls and women are actively engaged. A not-for-profit organization, CAAWS offers a number of services, programs and resources to a variety of clients, including sport and physical activity organizations, teachers, coaches, health professionals and recreation leaders. CAAWS works in close co-operation with government and non-government organizations on activities and initiatives that advocate for positive change for young girls and women in the sport and physical activity communities.