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  • Healthy EatingNOVA SCOTIA

  • Healthy Eating Nova Scotia was developed by:

    The Healthy Eating Action Group of the Nova Scotia Alliance for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity, in partnership with the Office of Health Promotion.

    To download additional copies please visit the Office of Health Promotion website at http://www.gov.ns.ca/ohp/healthyEating.html

    March 2005

  • Contents

    Summary .................................................................................................................... 1

    Recommendations .................................................................................................... 5

    Introduction ............................................................................................................... 7

    Why a Healthy Eating Strategy? ............................................................................... 8

    Working Together for Healthy Eating .................................................................... 11Guiding Principles ............................................................................................ 11Strategic Directions ........................................................................................... 12Priorities for action ........................................................................................... 12Our vision ........................................................................................................ 12

    Breastfeeding .......................................................................................................... 13Objectives ........................................................................................................ 13What do we know about breastfeeding? .......................................................... 13Whats happening now? ................................................................................... 14Potential partners .............................................................................................. 15Next Steps ....................................................................................................... 15

    Children and Youth ................................................................................................. 16What do we know about healthy eating among children and youth? ............... 16Objectives ........................................................................................................ 16Potential partners .............................................................................................. 20Next Steps ....................................................................................................... 20

    Fruit and Vegetable Consumption ......................................................................... 21What do we know about fruit and vegetable consumption? ............................. 21Objectives ........................................................................................................ 21Whats happening now? ................................................................................... 22Potential partners ............................................................................................. 23Next Steps ....................................................................................................... 23

    Food Security .......................................................................................................... 24Objectives ......................................................................................................... 24What do we know about food security? ............................................................ 24Whats happening now? ................................................................................... 26Next Steps ....................................................................................................... 27

    A Call to Action ....................................................................................................... 29Endnotes ........................................................................................................... 32Bibliography ...................................................................................................... 33

  • Healthy Eating Nova Scotia 1

    Healthy Eating Nova Scotia

    January 2005

    Nova Scotias rates of diet-related chronic conditions, such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, are among the highest in Canada. Simi-larly, provincial rates of diet-related risk factors such as obesity, abnormal lipids and high blood pressure, are serious public health problems. Research has shown that improving nutrition can help prevent these and many other chronic conditions. At the same time, growing food insecurity and other social and economic changes are making it more difficult than ever for Nova Scotians to choose healthy eating.

    Healthy Eating Nova Scotia is a strategic plan to address these and other nutrition-related health issues. The document provides a framework for comprehensive action on healthy eating, one of the four areas of emphasis recommended in the Nova Scotia Chronic Disease Prevention Strategy. It is the first provincial food and nutrition strategy developed by an active partnership of government and non-government organizations, private corporations and professional as-sociations, in consultation with the broader community. The strategy was produced through a collaborative process led by the Healthy Eating Action Group of the Nova Scotia Alliance for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity.

    Why a healthy eating strategy? Good nutrition is essential for health and well-being, and mak-ing healthy choices is more difficult than it has ever been before. As a result, illness due to nutrition-related causes is costing the province vast and growing amounts of money. These costs are expected to increase very rapidly in Nova Scotia as a result of two powerful forces: our rapidly aging population, and the soaring costs of treating chronic conditions with medica-tion and high-tech equipment. Immediate, strategic and innovative action is called for to avoid a financial and health care crisis.

    Healthy Eating Nova Scotia outlines four priority action areas: breastfeeding, children and youth, fruit and vegetable consumption, and food security. These priorities were identified as nutritional best buys after a thorough review of the research literature.

    Summary

    Good nutrition is essential for health and well-being, and making healthy choices is more difficult than it has ever been before.

  • Healthy Eating 2 Nova Scotia

    Breastfeeding

    Babies experience very rapid growth and development in the first six months of life. The nu-merous benefits of breastfeeding are well known. For the child, it has been shown to reduce the incidence of asthma, eczema, ear infections, gastrointestinal disease, sudden infant death syn-drome and a variety of childhood infectious diseases. It also promotes optimal brain develop-ment and provides protection against life-threatening illnesses for premature infants. Research-ers now also recognize that breastfeeding plays an important role in preventing obesity and the many related chronic diseases later in life. For the mother, breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Experts recommend that healthy infants receive only breast milk until six months of age and that ideally, breastfeeding should continue (with other foods) for up to two years and beyond. Yet in Nova Scotia, nearly one-third of children are never breastfed, and most of those who do receive mothers milk do so for only a few weeks.

    Objectives

    1. To increase initiation and duration of breastfeeding.

    2. To increase the number of health care organizations that have adopted the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

    3. To increase the number of public and community health agencies that have adopted the Seven Point Plan for Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding.

    Children and Youth

    Eating habits are developed early in life. Some evidence suggests that food habits established before age five are maintained throughout adulthood. Childrens eating habits are influenced by their experiences at home, in child care settings and at school. They are also heavily influenced by media messages. Although little is currently known about the nutrition status of young chil-dren in the province, increasing rates of type 2 diabetes and obesity are indicators that some-thing is seriously wrong. A variety of strategies are proposed to create environments that foster healthy eating among young people at home, at school and in child care settings.

    Objectives

    1. To improve eating patterns of children and youth, based on Canadas Food Guide to Healthy Eating.

    2. To increase the availability and affordability of healthy foods in child care, school and other child and youth settings.

    3. To increase knowledge about food and nutrition among parents, teachers and caregivers.

    4. To increase skills for encouraging the development of healthy eating practices in the early years, among parents and other caregivers of young children.

  • Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

    A rapidly growing number of studies show the protective role that vegetables and fruit play in preventing chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and many cancers, particularly those of the gastrointestinal system. As a result, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption has become a priority in chronic disease prevention strategies world-wide. According to the latest Statistics Canada figures, less than one-third of Nov