Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
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The central phone line is 705-721-7520 ext. 8533

Board Meeting Notes June 19, 2019

Jul 04, 2019
Board meeting notes from June 19, 2019. Topics covered include: Building tools for better nutrition and Public health standards must remain.

Building tools for better nutrition

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is using the new Canada’s Food Guide as the basis for planning the agency’s healthy eating initiatives internally and community wide.

The new Food Guide is based on current evidence and contains a variety of tools and resources that reflect Canada’s social, cultural, economic and physical diversity. Changes place an emphasis on vegetables and fruit, whole grains and plant-based protein foods such as nuts and legumes. It includes guidance for individuals regarding what and how to eat to achieve optimal health. It can also help health professionals, policy makers and stakeholders make decisions that support healthy food and beverage choices. The health unit plans to increase awareness of the new Food Guide and work with various groups and organizations to increase awareness about the new dietary guidelines and to make healthy food and beverages more accessible.

Vanessa Hurley, a Registered Dietitian and Public Health Nutritionist working on the health unit’s Food Guide plan, told the Simcoe Muskoka Board of Health there is a need for education and training about the value of the new Food Guide and creating  environments that support healthy eating where people live, work and play. Health professionals, policy makers and the community in general all have a role in this.

Hurley noted that one estimate placed the cost of direct health care from unhealthy eating and the resulting chronic diseases at $2.9 billion in 2011 in Ontario.

Public health standards must remain

Health units and boards of health across Ontario believe that the Ontario Public Health Standards need to be maintained without any reduction in content in a possible effort to reduce local resources in the reorganization of public health. The Simcoe Muskoka Board of Health was briefed that, at its annual conference on June 9 to 11, the Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa) approved a resolution asking the province to maintain the entire Ontario Public Health Standards. It also called for a staged approach to the increased requirement for municipal funding for public health, to take place over five years commencing in 2021. Carolyn Shoreman, the health unit’s Vice-President of Public Health Transitions, noted that revisions to the Ontario Public Health Standards, made in 2018, were to be more relevant to current issues being addressed by public health across the province. Any reduction of the Standards now could defeat the intention of the revisions.

Each year at the annual conference of alPHa, health units are invited to draft resolutions to improve public health in Ontario. The resolutions are debated and endorsed by the membership.


Next Meeting

The next meeting of the board of health takes place on July 17 at 9:15 a.m.
location to be determined.

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