Ontario Launches Pilot Program To Deliver Fruits And Vegetables To Children In The North

Archived Release

Ontario Launches Pilot Program To Deliver Fruits And Vegetables To Children In The North

Program Helps Establish Healthy Eating Habits At Young Age Contact Info TIMMINS, ON, Sept. 15 - The McGuinty government has introduced a pilot project that will supply fruits and vegetables to elementary school children in selected northern Ontario schools, Health Promotion Minister Jim Watson announced today. "Developing healthy eating habits is critical to the health and wellbeing of our children," said Watson. "That's why we're piloting an initiative that promotes awareness and increases consumption of fruits and vegetables among young people." The year-long $500,000 Northern Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program will be run in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association, the Porcupine Health Unit and local schools and school boards. It will provide students in 20-25 elementary schools in selected communities in Ontario's Porcupine region with two to three servings of fruit and vegetables each week. "Access to reliable nutrition information is key to promoting good health and this initiative is a positive step towards improving the health of children in Northern Ontario," said Timiskaming-Cochrane MPP, David Ramsay. "In addition to programs such as the Northern Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program, the McGuinty Government is also developing additional information resources for Ontarians who are seeking to improve their health and quality of life through healthy, nutritious eating." "Fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with better health. Research indicates that it's important to develop healthy eating habits early in life," said Dianne Oickle, Chair, Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health. According to the recent Canadian Community Health Survey, the 59 per cent of Canadian children and youth aged 2 to 17 who reported consuming fruit and vegetables less than five times a day were significantly more likely to be overweight or obese than those who ate fruit and vegetables more frequently." The Northern Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program is one of the new programs that has come out of Ontario's Action Plan for Healthy Eating and Active Living, launched by the government in June. The Action Plan responds to key findings in the Chief Medical Officer of Health's report entitled Healthy Weights, Healthy Lives, which called for a broad, province-wide effort across sectors and communities to combat obesity. The government's $10 million action plan offers new programs and strategies, and builds on existing ones to support healthy eating and active living in Ontario. Ontarians can now access information on nutrition and healthy eating through a new, province-wide online service called EatRight Ontario, part of the existing, highly-acclaimed website, HealthyOntario.com. EatRight Ontario includes an online resource which will allow people to ask specific nutrition related questions and receive feedback. Disponible en français www.mhp.gov.on.ca www.healthyontario.com For further information: Adam Grachnik, Minister's Office, (416) 326-8497; Julie Rosenberg, Communications Branch, (416) 326-4833 HELP | CONTACT US | PRIVACY | IMPORTANT NOTICES © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008-2009 — Last Modified: February 15, 2009 For further information: Adam Grachnik, Minister's Office, (416) 326-8497; Julie Rosenberg, Communications Branch, (416) 326-4833