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Manitoba Takes Lead in Promoting Healthy Weights for Children: Rondeau

News Release – Manitoba
April 11, 2011

$75,000 Increase to Healthy Food and Nutrition Programs Will Target Northern, Remote Communities: Robinson

The province is championing healthy eating among children in the north by partnering with communities and schools with an initial investment of $75,000 as part of its childhood obesity strategy, Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors Minister Jim Rondeau and Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson announced today.“Ensuring access to affordable healthy foods throughout Canada’s north is a challenge,” said Rondeau. “Our role as a champion in this area involves collaborating with other governments and working with families and communities to promote healthy eating and physical activity that will give children the best chance to maintain healthy weights.”

Among the investments Manitoba will make this year to improve access to healthy foods are:

•increasing funding for the Northern Healthy Foods Initiative by $25,000 to support activities such as gardening, school programs, poultry production, the purchase of freezers to store foods,providing education on preserving, composting and nutrition awareness, and engaging youth in healthy eating habits; and
•increasing support to the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba by 25 per cent for a total annual contribution of $250,000 in support of school breakfast and snack programs in the north and across the province.

“Our government created the Northern Healthy Foods Initiative in 2004 to make it easier for families to access affordable healthy food in northern and remote communities,” said Robinson. “Today, this initiative is making a difference in the lives of many but it’s clear we must renew our efforts if we have any hope of success in the battle against childhood obesity.”

Rondeau noted the investments build on Manitobans’ commitment to the national dialogue on obesity announced earlier this year.

“We’re working with other provinces and the federal government on the Our Health Our Future initiative to encourage youth, parents and caregivers and stakeholders to come together and share their thoughts and ideas about obesity,” said Rondeau. “We want to provide an opportunity for people to talk about how we can make healthy choices that give their kids a stronger start in life.”

The ministers noted that today’s announcement builds on other investments in physical activity promotion, nutrition and chronic disease prevention including:

•providing $765,000 in annual funding for the Healthy Together Now! chronic-disease prevention program;
•working with Peak of the Market to introduce healthy choices for a new school fundraising program; and
•investing more than $1.2. million over five years to support community and workplace physical-activity grants through the successful Manitoba in motion physical activity strategy.

For more information on the Our Health Our Future initiative, visit: www.ourhealthourfuture.gc.ca/home/.

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION ATTACHED
Northern Healthy Food Initiative