At Halton Region we work hard everyday to encourage residents to make healthy choices. Eating right and staying physically active are just two of the things we can all do to help reduce the risks of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and help keep our community healthy.
In an effort to support residents, Halton Region’s Health Department offers a number of programs that promote healthy eating and exercise.
Through the Farm to School program Halton works with local organizations to bring fresh, locally grown produce into Halton elementary schools. The program influences healthy eating habits in a positive way and also helps children understand where food comes from.
We are also fortunate to have dedicated members of our community working towards these same goals including Julia Hanna, founder of the Kids Culinary Community initiative. The Kids Culinary Community strives to develop children’s skills in food preparation, while at the same time teaching them about the environmental and economic benefits of eating locally grown food. The lessons learned through this program are life lessons that can have long-term, positive effects on individual and community health.
Together with the Halton Region school boards, Halton has also supported the implementation of the School Food and Beverage Policy, Bill PPM 150 which ensures students have healthier food options at school.
At work, the Region assists employers in providing healthy food choices for employees through the Eat Smart program. The program offers awards to companies that maintain high standards of food safety while at the same time offering nutritious food choices in their cafeterias.
To support individuals in making healthy choices in their daily lives, the Region launched the Community Food Advisor program. Through the program, trained volunteers speak to community groups about the skills needed to adopt healthy eating habits. They also help participants learn more about safe handling and food storage.
In addition to nutrition, Halton also works with community partners and organizations to promote physical activity.
Programs such as walkON bring together decision-makers and residents to learn more about how the built environment, like our roads and sidewalks, can make it easier for people to walk, bike, or use public transit instead of a car.
The Region also participates with the Halton Region school boards in the Active and Safe Routes to School program which encourages children to walk or bike to and from school.
And behind the scenes, we are working closely with Regional and Municipal planners to ensure Halton residents have a community that is both walkable and bikeable now and in the future.
Summer is the perfect time to get out and enjoy all Halton has to offer, from outdoor spaces to farmers markets. To learn more about these programs and other healthy living resources, visit www.halton.ca/healthresources.
If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”