Budget Bulletin Healthy Kids

first_imgINVESTING IN THE HEALTH OF OUR CHILDRENImproving the health of Nova Scotia’s children is aresponsibility shared among parents, communities, government andschools. In 2005-06, the Province of Nova Scotia is doing itspart by investing in initiatives aimed at helping kids get inshape and stay in shape. Many of the new investments will be directed towards childrenwhere they spend much of their time — at school. The Office ofHealth Promotion and the Department of Education are working toensure more physical activity opportunities and healthy eatingoptions at school. DEVELOPING HEALTHY EATING PROGRAMSA total of $595,000 in grants will benefit schools so they candevelop or start a healthy eating plan. Funds will be used forthings like beverage selection, menu planning, pricing andtraining for staff and volunteers involved in school food andnutrition. A $360,000 investment will place public health nutritionists ineach district health authority. The nutritionists will supportthe implementation of the Healthy Eating Nova Scotia strategy,released in March 2005, and will provide support to schools intheir region to develop and start healthy eating programs. There is an undeniable link between students’ academicperformance and their overall health and well-being. A $750,000breakfast program will see elementary school studentsprovincewide have a healthy breakfast to ensure that every childgets a good start to the school day. DEVELOPING HEALTHY AND ACTIVE LEARNERSThrough its new plan for education, Learning for Life: BrighterFutures Together, the Department of Education will focus ondeveloping healthy and active learners. Recognizing the roleschools play in supporting healthy, active lifestyles, thedepartment will invest $1.7 million in programming and resourcesto better support students. Initiatives include new physical education programming and more physical education teachers, aresource for every school board to support schools inimplementing health and physical education programs, healtheducation resources for parents and students and moreprofessional development for teachers. INCREASING PHYSICAL ACTIVITYThrough a partnership with the federal government, a $1-millioninvestment over three years will see a sport animator hired foreach school board who will bridge the gap between schools andcommunities to increase participation in sport, physical activityand recreation. The Active Kids, Healthy Kids research conducted in 2001 will berepeated this year to track the changes in level and frequency ofphysical activity among children and youth in grades 3, 7 and 11.The new research will also look into healthy eating habits. Withan investment of $352,000, six physical education teachers willbe seconded to collect the information, and researchers willcompile and interpret the data. Armed with this information, wecan track our progress to date and better plan policies andprograms to help young Nova Scotians become healthier. More than $2 million is invested annually in facilities thatpromote sport and physical recreation. This year, an additional$150,000 will be dedicated to supporting school playgrounds sochildren can play and be physically active with safe equipment.An additional $90,000 will buy new physical education equipmentfor schools. A total of $9.5 million is being invested in theOffice of Health Promotion in 2005-06 to increase physicalactivity opportunities for all Nova Scotians. A healthy living tax credit will be introduced for childreneffective July 1, 2005. Families will receive an allowable taxcredit on up to $150 for each child who is registered in aqualifying sport, municipal or public program. -30-last_img

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