News release

Supports for Healthy Students

PREMIER'S OFFICE/HEALTH PROMOTION/EDUCATION--Supports for Healthy Students


Students in Nova Scotia schools will have healthier food choices and more opportunities to be active, thanks to new supports announced by Premier John Hamm today, April 18.

In the 2005-06 school year, there will be grants for schools, a public health nutritionist in each District Health Authority and a sport animator in each participating school board.

"This is a significant investment -- it's three programs that, together, provide the expertise and the money that schools need to help their students be healthier," said the premier, who was joined today by Health Promotion Minister Rodney MacDonald, Education deputy minister Dennis Cochrane, and Member of Parliament Mike Savage at Southdale-North Woodside Elementary School.

The government of Canada and the province of Nova Scotia have extended their bilateral agreement on sport until 2007-08. Over the six years of this agreement, the government of Canada will invest more than $1.3 million and the province of Nova Scotia, more than $2.4 million.

One part of that agreement is Sport Participation Opportunities for Children and Youth, a program that will see a sport animator working in each participating school board. The animator will link school and community sport programs so that everyone has an opportunity to get active. The sport animators' portion of the agreement includes $486,000 from the federal government, $1.2 million from the province and a contribution from school boards that participate.

"We are pleased to continue our partnership with Nova Scotia to encourage participation in sport by all Nova Scotians," said Mr. Savage, speaking on behalf of Stephen Owen, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister of State (Sport). "Canadians who participate in sport at an early age incorporate physical activity into their daily lives and experience many health and social benefits. It is important for all Canadians to enjoy a lifetime of physical activity."

The $345,000 School Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Program will provide grants to each school for the development and implementation of a school health program. To receive a grant, the school must be addressing both healthy eating and physical activity, which go hand-in-hand in improving children's health. This will ensure affordable and nutritious foods and physical activity opportunities are available to students.

Each of the nine district health authorities will hire an additional public health nutritionist, thanks to an investment of $360,000 this year. The nutritionists will help with the implementation of the recently released Healthy Eating Nova Scotia strategy. Since a priority of the strategy is children and youth, part of their role is to work with schools, including helping them apply for and use funding from the School Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Program.

"Today's announcement is an excellent example of how we're working together -- the federal and provincial governments, school boards and health authorities -- to make great changes for the health of our children and youth," said the premier.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Students will be healthier. That's Premier John Hamm's hope today (April 18th) as he announced grants for schools, a public health nutritionist in each district health authority, and a sport animator in each participating school board.

The premier says this is a significant investment that provides the expertise and the money that schools need to help their students be healthier.

The sport animators will increase sport opportunities in schools and communities. Public health nutritionists will act on the provincial healthy eating strategy and grants will allow schools to plan and start healthy living programs.

The premier says today's announcement is an excellent example of the federal and provincial governments, school boards and health authorities working together to make great changes for the health of our children and youth.

-30-

Contact:

Caitlin Rochon
Health Promotion 902-424-6527 E-mail:
Tara Walsh
Department of Education 902-424-8307 E-mail:
Hugh Fraser
Premier's Office 902-424-4092 E-mail:
Myriam Brochu
Canadian Heritage 819-997-9314 E-mail: