McGuinty government investing in better health for Northern Ontario children

    Northern Fruit And Vegetable Program Increases Access To Healthy Food

    TORONTO, June 25 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is expanding the
Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program so that more elementary school children
in Northern Ontario have access to a healthy supply of fruits and vegetables,
Health Promotion Minister Jim Watson announced today.
    "Developing healthy eating habits in young children is critical to their
health and wellbeing," said Watson. "That's why the McGuinty government is
expanding the Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program to promote awareness and
increases consumption of fruits and vegetables among young people."
    In 2007/2008, the $900,000 Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program will run
in 61 elementary schools in the Porcupine and Algoma regions. Approximately
12,000 children will be provided with two to three servings of fruit and
vegetables each week, as well as education on the benefits of fruit and
vegetable consumption.
    "This program supports the agri-food sector in Ontario and the
government's Pick Ontario Freshness campaign," said Leona Dombrowsky, Minister
of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "The McGuinty government is working
with the agri-food industry to promote the fresh foods grown and produced in
the province."
    "As the pilot location for the program last year, we worked very closely
with a variety of partners and look forward to sharing our experiences and
best practices with our counterparts in Algoma Public Health who will be
responsible for the implementation of the program in the District of Algoma,"
added Dr. Dennis Hong, Acting Medical Officer of Health for the Porcupine
Heath Unit.
    "As well as improving the health of our children in Ontario and
encouraging the development of healthy eating habits, this project supports
our provincial agri-food industry by promoting the consumption of fresh, high
quality Ontario produce," said Brenda Lammens, the Chair of the Ontario Fruit
and Vegetable Growers' Association (OFVGA). "It also gives these school
children the opportunity to try these foods, perhaps for the very first time,
and provide them with more options for healthier snacks."
    Northern Ontario was chosen based on statistics showing the lack of
variety in children's diets, the number of overweight children and youth, as
well as the fact that 62% of children aged 12-19 do not eat five or more
servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
    The Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program is run in cooperation with the
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Growers' Association, the Porcupine Health Unit, the District of
Algoma Public Health Unit, local schools and school boards.

    The Ministry of Health Promotion was established to improve and deliver
programs that contribute to healthy living and wellness in this province, as
well as develop healthy public policies that contribute to a healthier
Ontario. Key priorities include Ontario's Smoke-Free Strategy, healthy eating,
active living, sport and recreation, injury prevention and mental health

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Ministry of Health Promotion, Adam Grachnik,
Minister's Office, (416) 326-8497; Julie Rosenberg, Communications Branch,
(416) 326-4833

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