News release

Premier Challenges Nova Scotians to Get Moving

Premier John Hamm today announced a $2.4-million commitment to children and youth as he launched the province's first physical activity strategy: Active Kids, Healthy Kids. The strategy, which will be funded over the next three years, is the responsibility of the province's Sport and Recreation Commission in collaboration with the departments of Health and Education.

"We want young Nova Scotians to put down the remote and pick up the pace, on the basketball court, in the playground, on the soccer field, in the backyard, on the dance floor or at the local rink," said Premier Hamm.

The strategy is based on the vision that by the year 2010, Nova Scotia will be known as a province that experienced a fundamental shift in its support for active, healthy lives for children and youth. One of the world's most extensive studies into the physical activity levels of children recently confirmed that too many Nova Scotians are not leading active, healthy lifestyles.

Rodney MacDonald, Minister of Sport and Recreation, said by working together, parents, schools, communities and governments can make healthy, active lifestyles the norm in Nova Scotia, with Nova Scotians reaping the benefits.

"If we're active, there is a better chance we'll be healthy and enjoy all the benefits that go with being healthy," said Mr. MacDonald. "To focus on our children and youth makes sense in supporting our vision of developing and promoting a culture where being active is a habit of healthy life."

Health Minister Jamie Muir said the strategy is an important step in the right direction, one that requires the collaboration of many in order to have maximum impact.

"We all have a role to play -- individuals, families, communities and various levels of government," said Mr. Muir. "We as individuals can make healthy lifestyle choices, but we also need environments that encourage and support healthy, active living."

And Education Minister Jane Purves said teaching our children the benefits of being physically active is a key component of the strategy.

"During the school day, we need to teach our children why physical activity is important and give them opportunities to learn by doing," said Ms. Purves. "After school, we need to make our facilities available for school sports teams, community dance classes or any other activity that will engage young people in fitness."

The key components of Active Kids, Healthy Kids focus on government policy and programs, communities, schools, safe active-living environments, public education, evaluation and monitoring. The strategy was developed by a working group made up of dedicated representatives from government and non-government sectors, and it included input gained in more than 40 public consultations across the province.

The goal is for Nova Scotia children and youth to accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate, or more intense, physical activity most days of the week.

The Sport and Recreation Commission and the departments of Education and Health have committed funding and resources for implementation of Active Kids, Healthy Kids. The complete strategy is available at www.gov.ns.ca/src/initiatives_pacy_strategy.htm .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotia has its first physical activity strategy.

Premier John Hamm launched the 2.4-million-dollar strategy - - Active Kids, Healthy Kids -- today (October 23rd) along with ministers responsible for sport and recreation, health and education.

The strategy aims to encourage activity among children and youth and create environments that support physically active lifestyles. It will be funded over three years.

Recent studies confirm that young Nova Scotians are not active enough. The premier challenged Nova Scotians to put down the remote and pick up the pace.

The vision is to make Nova Scotians the most active Canadians by the year 2010.

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Contact:

Robert Batherson
Office of the Premier 902-424-6601 E-mail:
Barbara Klass
Sport and Recreation Commission 902-424-7512 E-mail:
Wendy Barnable
Department of Health 902-424-4410 E-mail:
Robyn McIsaac
Department of Education 902-424-8286 E-mail:
kjd            October 23, 2002         1:00 P.M.