Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
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Board meeting notes - February 18, 2015

Mar 26, 2015
Health unit readies for Pan Am Games; Pressing for more physical activity in schools

Health unit readies for Pan Am Games

Mass gatherings like last fall’s International Plowing Match are complex events where elements such as disease, food and water safety and weather emergencies need to be considered by public health authorities. Events such as the G8/G20 summits in 2010 and Pan Am games in 2015 require public health authorities to focus their attention on preventing illness and injury. Studies have shown that the most likely risks at these events are low-profile hazards such as food poisoning, infectious disease outbreaks, substance abuse, dehydration and heat-related illness. The health unit’s mass gathering plans will be put into play again this July when Pan Am Games events take place at Hardwood Hills Mountain Bike Park and the Innisfil Shooting Park. The health unit is also involved in preparations for the expanded Burl’s Creek event grounds, which could see crowds of up to 70,000. Emergency response manager Kelly Magnusson told the board of health that the health unit’s activities include inspecting for food safety and safe drinking water; enforcing tobacco legislation; monitoring for health implications due to extreme heat or poor air quality; communicating risks and educating about substance abuse and sexual health with event participants; as well as having response processes ready in the event of emergencies such as disease outbreaks or heat alerts.

Pressing for more physical activity in schools

The Simcoe Muskoka Board of Health wants to see daily health and physical education come back to Ontario’s schools. Last week the board endorsed a proposal from the Ontario Association of Physical Activity Promoters in Public Health that will be going to the Ministry of Education “to address physical literacy in education and child care settings.” Brittney Hillier, a public health nurse with the health unit, told the board that increasing the daily opportunities for physical literacy at school is “an early investment in physical activity in later life.” The sad reality is that many children and youth are growing up without developing the skills to participate confidently in recreation, sports or physical activity. Less than 10 per cent of Canadian children are meeting the recommended daily physical activity levels they need for health benefits. Between 15 and 39 per cent of severe chronic diseases in Canada are a result of a lack of proper physical activity, at a cost to the economy estimated at $6.8 billion.


Next Meeting

The next meeting of the board of health takes place April 15 at 9:15 a.m. 

in the Midland office at 865 Hugel Ave, east side of Midland Secondary School.

News releases are stored here dating back to spring 2005. Earlier news releases are maintained in an archive and can be retrieved by calling the health unit during business hours.

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