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Board Meeting Notes January 15, 2014

Jan 20, 2014
Low income earners can’t afford healthy foods Fluoridation should be required by the province: health unit Board elects 2014 executive

Low income earners can’t afford healthy foods

It is clear that the biggest barrier to a healthy diet is inadequate income. In Simcoe Muskoka, almost one household in 10 lacks food security and must cut back on food quality and even quantity to cope, setting individuals and families up for poor health. The findings were included in the 2013 Nutritious Food Basket survey results presented to the board of health last week.

The survey is an annual assessment of low-income families’ housing expenses and food prices, collected by all health units in Ontario. Among the examples used in the survey, Registered Dietitian Jane Shrestha pointed out that a Simcoe Muskoka family of four on Ontario Works support would have just $163 left each month after paying for food and rent alone. In the worst-case scenario, a 35-year-old man on social assistance would be in the hole $241 every month after paying for just food and rent.

It’s a situation that leaves people cutting corners on food to pay other bills, and sometimes simply going hungry, Shrestha said.

The survey has been used in developing responses such as the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter and other health equity strategies, said healthy living service director Joyce Fox.

Table showing the average impact of housing and nutritious food choices at various income levels.

Fluoridation should be required by the province: health unit

The Board of Health of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is taking the fluoride debate to Queen’s Park. A report on the recent challenges to community water fluoridation in Simcoe and Muskoka concluded that, although “support for water fluoridation continues to be unwavering from a public health perspective,” the multiple campaigns against it have resulted in a struggle “for water fluoridation across Ontario that is fragmented, unpredictable in its nature and too often ends with a loss of community water fluoridation.”

As a result the board has endorsed a resolution that will be taken to the annual general meeting of the Association for Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa), as well as a letter to go directly to the Minister of Health calling on the province to take responsibility for water fluoridation in all municipal drinking water supplies.

Similar calls for provincial action have been made by the Council of Medical Officers of Health in 2007, alPHa and the Ontario Public Health Association in 2011, and by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario in 2012.

Board elects 2014 executive

Barry Ward was returned to the chair of the Simcoe Muskoka District Board of Health this week. His vice chair, Scott Warnock, has also been returned to the office. It was also announced that Gail Mullen has been reappointed as one of the provincial appointees to the board.   Next Meeting The next meeting of the board of health takes place Feb. 19at 9:15 a.m. at 15 Sperling Drive, Barrie, ON.    

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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