Or­léans young­ster pro­motes healthy liv­ing

Orleans Star - - LOCAL NEWS - Pa­tri­cia Lon­er­gan

Eleven-year-old Sarah Horton wants res­i­dents of Ottawa to avoid her grand­fa­ther’s fate and live a healthy and ac­tive life­style. The young Or­léans res­i­dent, who will at­tend Garneau high school this fall and plans to be­come a pae­di­a­tri­cian some­day, has pro­posed the city adopt an Ottawa Health Day. Armed with a Pow­erPoint slideshow com­plete with a heart shaped ap­ple logo and a tagline that read “Health Day, Everyday,” Horton vis­ited City Hall to present her idea to both Or­léans Coun. Bob Monette and chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer Dr. Isra Levy.

Horton said she came up with the idea of a day ded­i­cated to re­mind­ing peo­ple about healthy liv­ing fol­low­ing her grand­fa­ther’s death a few months ago. Ac­cord­ing to Horton, he had a car­diac con­di­tion and lived an un­healthy life and his heart even­tu­ally “gave out.”

“I want to show peo­ple they can live longer by eat­ing an ap­ple in­stead of a chocolate bar,” she said.“Most peo­ple think healthy food – ick – but it can be fun and tasty.”

“You’re on to some­thing,” Levy told Horton when she fin­ished her brief pre­sen­ta­tion.

He ex­plained en­joy­ment is an im­por­tant com­po­nent when it comes to food and mod­er­a­tion makes a dif­fer­ence.

“It’s okay to have alfredo,” he said, re­fer­ring to Horton’s cur­rent favourite dish.“It’s okay to have foods you en­joy in mod­er­a­tion. It’s about a bal­anced pack­age with ex­er­cise.”

In re­cent years the pub­lic has been con­cerned with to­bacco use and al­co­hol, Levy con­tin­ued, but nutri­tion is also an im­por­tant and cur­rent is­sue.

Canada al­ready has a na­tional health day on May 12, which is Florence Nightin­gale’s birth­day. Nightin­gale was a nurse in the mid 1800s who even­tu­ally over­saw the wel­fare of Bri­tish sol­diers. Es­tab­lished in 1981, Canada Health Day is spon­sored by the Cana­dian Health­care As­so­ci­a­tion and the Cana­dian Pub­lic Health As­so­ci­a­tion who have worked in part­ner­ship to make this an­nual event a na­tional cel­e­bra­tion of health care in Canada.

Mean­while, on the world stage, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) cel­e­brates a global health day in April. Next year’s theme will fo­cus on ur­ban­iza­tion and health. With the cam­paign “1,000 cities – 1,000 lives,” events will be organized world­wide call­ing on cities to open up streets for health ac­tiv­i­ties.

While Ottawa doesn’t have a day ded­i­cated specif­i­cally to health pro­mo­tion, Levy in­di­cated Pub­lic Health of­fers a num­ber of pro­grams that touches on healthy eat­ing, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and even school pro­grams. The in­for­ma­tion, he said, is on the city’s web­site.

“It’s easy to be healthy everyday if you think about it,” Levy noted.

Monette, mean­while, plans to com­mu­ni­cate Horton’s idea to emer­gency and pro­tec­tive ser­vices as well as the mayor.

As for Horton, she in­di­cated she thinks every­one should eat healthy foods.

“I hope peo­ple won’t die like my grand­fa­ther did,” she said.

To see pro­grams of­fered by Ottawa Pub­lic Health, visit http://ottawa.ca/res­i­dents/health/ in­dex_en.html. For more in­for­ma­tion on World Health Day or to reg­is­ter an ac­tiv­ity, visit http://www.who.int/world-health-day/en/.

Ottawa’s chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer Dr. Isra Levy (left) and Or­léans Coun. Bob Monette (right) present 11-year-old Sarah Horton with a cer­tifi­cate fol­low­ing her pre­sen­ta­tion about cre­at­ing a health day in Ottawa.

Photo by Pa­tri­cia Lon­er­gan

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