New research on the ParticipACTION Teen Challenge, sponsored by Coca-Cola Canada, provides evidence that small, targeted investments of $250 to $500 can help break down the barriers that prevent teens from getting active.

The study, conducted by four leading Canadian researchers, revealed that flexible micro-grants can lead to numerous benefits beyond physical activity. They can provide exposure to new activities, develop teens’ physical abilities, and change the way they view and feel about themselves -- helping build self-esteem, confidence, leadership and social skills.

The study found that there were many benefits to the organizations and communities that received the grants, including building and strengthening partnerships within the community, furthering credibility and creating lasting legacy. To date, the ParticipACTION Teen Challenge has encouraged more than 350,000 teens and 4,500 community organizations to work together to design local activities.


“Activity levels drop among Canadian kids in the teen years, and only four per cent of kids aged 12 to 17 are getting enough heart-pumping activity each day,” said Dr. John Spence, professor at the University of Alberta and senior author of the new research. “The ParticipACTION Teen Challenge shows that modest grants can have positive impacts on teen participants and the wider community, and could play an important role in promoting and enabling physical activity across the wider population.” 

The ParticipACTION Teen Challenge is funded by a 10-year, $10 million commitment from Coca-Cola Canada, and is delivered through a unique network of 13 provincial-territorial coordinating organizations, which, in turn, support community organizations at the local level.   

“To hear these experts state that our efforts are making physical activity more affordable and accessible confirms that with the right resources and partners, including ParticipACTION, it is possible to move in the right direction to healthier, active lifestyles,” said Krista Scaldwell, vice president of public affairs, Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada. “We are proud to help make this community impact possible.” 

The complete research paper on the ParticipACTION Teen Challenge was published in the journal BMC Public Health and is available online here.

For more information about ParticipACTION Teen Challenge, including more than 500 local teen success stories, click here.