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Ontario Supports Healthy Options for Aboriginal Children

News Release

Ontario Supports Healthy Options for Aboriginal Children

Aboriginal Health Centre Launches Healthy Kids Community Challenge

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre is among the 45 participants selected to take part in The Healthy Kids Community Challenge, which promotes healthy eating, physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices for children. 

Located in Hamilton and Brantford, the Aboriginal Health Centre will use funds from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to develop culturally appropriate programs that support Aboriginal children in the Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand, and Brant areasto be more active and healthy.

As it develops and implements its plans, De dwa da dehs nye>s will draw on the support of:

  • Its key partner, the Southern Ontario Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative
  • Member organizations of the Aboriginal Health Network
  • Local champions, including the director of business operations for Iroquois Lacrosse and a professional boxer.

The Healthy Kids Community Challenge combines a community-based approach with centralized provincial supports to help communities develop and implement policies, programs and environmental supports that enable one common outcome: healthy children.

Encouraging children to be active and healthy is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.

Quick Facts

  • The name “De dwa da dehs nye>s” in the Cayuga language embodies the concept of “taking care of each other amongst ourselves.”
  • De dwa da dehs nye>s is receiving up to $525,000 from Ontario to fund local community projects.
  • The Healthy Kids Community Challenge builds on steps the government has already taken to implement recommendations from the Healthy Kids Panel, including a 24-hour support line for breastfeeding moms and expanding Ontario’s Student Nutrition Program.
  • In 2009, the economic cost associated with physical inactivity and unhealthy weight in Ontario was $4.5 billion.
  • Supporting community-based activities to promote healthier living is a key recommendation of the Healthy Kids Panel report.

Additional Resources


Dipika Damerla

“I am extremely excited to launch this program for Aboriginal youth in Hamilton. The idea is to get kids to start learning about healthy living from an early age. Good habits learned in childhood will serve them well throughout their lives.”

Dipika Damerla

Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

David Zimmer

“Promoting healthy lifestyles among Aboriginal youth is a priority of our government. We’re proud to work with De Dwa da dehs nyes Aboriginal Health Centre to deliver culturally appropriate programs that incorporate traditional activities and knowledge to encourage healthy eating and physical activity among Aboriginal youth in the area.”

David Zimmer

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

“This is a fantastic opportunity to design innovative, unique and community-driven activities to make our children the healthiest they can be.”

Constance McKnight

Executive Director, De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre

Media Contacts

  • Shikha Sethi

    Associate Minister’s Office


  • David Jensen

    Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care





Government Health and Wellness