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Board Notes

Board of Health Notes October 19, 2011

24 Oct 2011

Board of health opposes bid to sell beer and wine in corner stores

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit will be urging local municipalities to pass a resolution not to permit the sale of beer and wine in convenience stores.

The board of health learned last week that the Ontario Convenience Store Association is attempting to build public support to lobby for change in the Liquor Licence Act that would allow the sale of beer and wine in convenience stores. Opposition to the idea has already been voiced by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Ontario Public Health Association.

Janice Greco, manager of injury and substance misuse prevention with the health unit, reported that if the 490 convenience stores in Simcoe and Muskoka were allowed to sell beer and wine it would result in a 24 per cent increase in alcohol outlets. Studies of similar loosening of sales regulations in British Columbia and Alberta have shown related increases in consumption of alcohol and increased alcohol-related injury and death. Board members supported the resolution and added that with some convenience stores open 24 hours, and young teens often working the cash registers, there were many additional risks associated with the proposal.

Lyme disease needs continued vigilance

Although a few random cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year in Simcoe and Muskoka, most are a result of travelling outside the area, and the local risk is very low.

A report on Lyme disease presented to the Simcoe Muskoka board of health recorded a total of 27 confirmed cases of the tick-borne disease since 1999. The board of health recommended that the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario continue to stay abreast of new science about Lyme disease, particularly the most effective laboratory testing techniques, and provide guidance to health units to improve Lyme disease awareness and monitoring programs. The health unit already conducts awareness education related to personal protection (use of repellents like DEET, checking for ticks on family and pets after being outdoors), and encourages the public to submit ticks discovered during outdoor activity to the health unit for testing.

Weight gain issues a concern for pregnant women

A survey of pregnant women in Simcoe and Muskoka reveals that over half gain more weight than recommended by Health Canada. Weight gain outside the current recommendations may increase health risks for both mothers and infants. Approximately 400 pregnant women participated in the Food and Exercise survey conducted by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit this year. The survey was conducted to provide insights into women’s attitudes and behaviours regarding food and exercise that will inform strategies to help women achieve a healthy gestational weight gain. Pregnancy is a time when women often consult their health care provider, and as a result it is a prime opportunity for a discussion about healthy weight gain in pregnancy. Plans are under way to share the details of the survey with the local health care providers.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Board of Health will be held on Nov. 16, 2011 at 9:15 a.m. in the council chambers of the Gravenhurst office, 5 Pineridge Gate.


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