Ontario nutrition and physical activity professionals applaud government investment in Childhood Obesity Strategy

    TORONTO, March 26 /CNW/ - The Ontario Collaborative Group on Healthy
Eating and Physical Activity (OCGHEPA) commends the government's significant
investment in a strategy to reduce Ontario's childhood obesity rates.
    The annual allocation of $10 million toward a strategy to encourage
children to eat healthy and be physically active is the first step toward
reversing these troubling numbers and fostering healthy living habits and
environments for Ontario's children.
    "We are very encouraged by the annual investment in a childhood obesity
strategy that the Ontario government has made in the 2008 budget," says Erica
Di Ruggiero, chair of the OCGHEPA. "We believe that this investment provides
Ontario with a great opportunity to develop evidence-based policies and
programs, through stakeholder consultation, that will have a significant
impact on the health of Ontario's children."
    The OCGHEPA submitted its plan for curbing obesity rates in Ontario
during the budget consultations in January. The plan included a comprehensive
approach to childhood obesity that addressed school-based programs for
nurturing healthy living habits for life. In addition, the group highlighted
the recommendations in the former Chief Medical Officer of Health, Sheela
Basrur's 2004 report Healthy Weights, Healthy Lives that have yet to be
addressed by the government in partnership with multiple sectors.
Recommendations such as transportation and public infrastructure to encourage
safe, active transportation should be a top priority for the government's
Inter-Ministerial Committee on Healthy Living.
    "We are looking forward to working with the government in the coming
months to establish the direction for Ontario's new childhood obesity
strategy. We will be pleased to provide support as the government works to
curb and reverse Ontario's childhood obesity epidemic," noted Di Ruggiero.

    The OCGHEPA is a provincial collaboration of health professionals from
organizations dedicated to addressing population-based issues related to
healthy eating and physical activity. The Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario
Division acts as secretariat for the group.

For further information:

For further information: Christine Koserski, Sr Coordinator, Media
Relations, Ontario Division, Canadian Cancer Society: (416) 488-5402, ext

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