Children Youth

News Release – Ontario Expanding Healthy Active Living Programs for Aboriginal Children and Youth

Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs

Ontario is helping more Aboriginal children, youth and their families adopt healthy lifestyles with programs that foster healthy eating and physical activity.

Healthy Children PlayingThe province is doubling its support for three successful health promotion programs run by Aboriginal organizations and tailored to their unique cultural traditions and knowledge.

•  The Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program, delivered by the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres.

•  The Healthy Eating and Active Living Program, delivered by the Aboriginal Health Access Centres.

•  The Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program, through partnership with the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association.

These programs provide Aboriginal communities with hands-on experience such as access to community kitchens and gardens, school and family-based healthy eating and physical activity programs, and recreational activities such as sport and dance, which incorporate traditional cultural practices.

Making it easier for Aboriginal children and youth to make healthy choices is a key component of the Healthy Kids Strategy and supports Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care. It is also part of the government’s economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow by focusing on Ontario’s greatest strengths — its people and its strategic partnerships.

Quick Facts

  • The government is investing $4.3 million to expand the healthy eating and active living programs, and another $2.2 million over four years to support the Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program.
  • The Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program has reached more than 10,000 people, including 3,800 children and youth since 2011.
  • In 2012-13, more than 2,000 people participated in physical activity programs and over 500 people attended healthy eating activities delivered by the Aboriginal Health Access Centres.
  • The Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program will double its reach to serve about 37,000 children. Almost one in five students in the area covered by the program is of Aboriginal descent.
  • Childhood obesity prevalence rates are higher among Aboriginal populations: more than 40 per cent of Aboriginal children are overweight or obese.

To learn more, please visit The Healthy Kids Panel Report, Ontario’s Healthy Kids Strategy and The Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres.

Wendy Anderson, Coordinator, Children and Youth Services Network

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