Prov­ince look­ing at child­hood obe­sity

The Queens County Advance - - TELEGUIDE -

The prov­ince is closer to a plan to ad­dress child­hood obe­sity af­ter hear­ing from more than 1,100 peo­ple, groups and or­ga­ni­za­tions about how to make it eas­ier to grow up healthy in Nova Sco­tia.

In­put came from di­a­logues, writ­ten sub­mis­sions and an on­line sur­vey sum­ma­rized in the re­port What We Heard: Sur­vey and Con­sul­ta­tion Find­ings for a Child­hood Obe­sity Preven­tion Strat­egy.

“We all know that poor diet and phys­i­cal in­ac­tiv­ity are putting chil­dren, youth and fam­i­lies at risk for pre­ventable health con­di­tions and dis­eases,” said Mau­reen Mac­don­ald, min­is­ter of Health and Well­ness. “It’s a com­plex so­ci­etal prob­lem, so it will take many steps and a col­lec­tive move­ment to change how we live.”

Con­sul­ta­tions in­cluded rep­re­sen­ta­tives from health and com­mu­nity-based or­ga­ni­za­tions, sport and re­cre­ation, ed­u­ca­tion, academia, gov­ern­ment, busi­ness and in­dus­try, and peo­ple rep­re­sent­ing Abo­rig­i­nal, African Cana­dian and Aca­dian com­mu­ni­ties and or­ga­ni­za­tions as well as fam­i­lies and youth.

Par­tic­i­pants raised com­mon themes, such as bar­ri­ers to, and lack of, op­por­tu­ni­ties for healthy eat­ing and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity as well as rushed and seden­tary lives be­cause of desk jobs, tech­nol­ogy and com­mu­nity de­sign.

The re­port iden­ti­fies bar­ri­ers and fac­tors con­tribut­ing to in­creas­ing obe­sity rates in chil­dren, and gives ex­am­ples of work un­der­way to sup­port phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and healthy eat­ing.

“It’s a mat­ter of the right medicine in the wrong dose,” said Dr. Rob Strang, the prov­ince’s chief public health of­fi­cer. “We need more poli­cies like our Nova Sco­tia School Food Nu­tri­tion Pol­icy and our reg­u­la­tions and stan­dards that help child-care cen­tres serve healthy foods.”

In Nova Sco­tia, one-in-three youth, age two to 17, are over­weight or obese and many more young peo­ple are at risk for a life­time of health is­sues be­cause of un­healthy life­styles.

In ad­di­tion to the con­sul­ta­tions, staff re­viewed lit­er­a­ture, best prac­tices and ac­tiv­i­ties across gov­ern­ment, ad­vice from task teams and a sci­en­tific ad­vi­sory panel.

The prov­ince will launch a plan for a health­ier Nova Sco­tia this spring.

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