Feb. 16, 2009
SAINT JOHN (CNB) - The provincial and federal government announced today their support for a provincial wellness network promoting physical activity and healthy eating throughout New Brunswick. The two governments are each contributing $317,000 to the New Brunswick division of the Canadian Cancer Society's provincial wellness network.
"The health and wellness of New Brunswickers are strongly influenced by increasing health awareness, which is resulting in shifts to healthier living," said Wellness, Culture and Sport Minister Hédard Albert. "We know that, to be a self-sufficient province, we must be a healthy province. The actions taken by our current wellness networks move us ever closer to that vision. This initiative will enhance and complement these efforts."
The network, which will be operated by the Healthy Eating Physical Activity Coalition of New Brunswick (HEPAC), will create a sustainable, co-ordinated system for connecting and supporting local and regional wellness networks. It will allow these networks to gain access to resources, tools and information within their communities; and they will have the opportunity to share with and learn from each other. Tools and resources available through this system will include a website, newsletters, web seminars, consultant support, and learning opportunities.
The provincial government recognizes the challenges that New Brunswickers are experiencing in the areas of weight gain, physical inactivity and the low intake of healthy foods, all of which are risk factors for chronic diseases such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. To address these issues, many communities and regions have established local groups aimed at promoting community health. These groups have been referred to as wellness networks.
"This government recognizes that prevention is a key component of a modern Canadian health system," said Saint John MP Rodney Weston. "The initiative will help New Brunswick families stay active and healthy, thereby reducing the likelihood of illness and disease."
Weston was speaking on behalf of federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.
"The Canadian Cancer Society in New Brunswick is pleased with today's announcement," said Anne McTiernan-Gamble, executive director. "Research has demonstrated that people can lower their risk of cancer by up to 35 per cent by eating well and being physically active. Preventing cancer and other diseases is exactly why efforts to support New Brunswickers on the path to wellness are so important. We look forward to collaborating with the HEPAC and the provincial government on this initiative."
The HEPAC is a coalition of five government departments and seven non-government organizations working collaboratively to support the creation of environments in New Brunswick that promote healthy eating and physical activity. The coalition is co-chaired by the Canadian Cancer Society and the Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport.
Collaboration among communities, governments and individuals is key to encouraging all Canadians to adopt healthy behaviours such as regular physical activity and healthy eating, and to create environments that maximize quality of life.
The Government of Canada is working with all provincial and territorial governments to support physical activity and healthy eating opportunities through bilateral agreements. These agreements allow governments to maximize their investments in healthy living and to address challenges in a co-ordinated manner.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Danielle McFarlane, communications, Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport, 506-457-6445; Josée Bellemare, press secretary, Office of the Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Philippe Brideau, media relations, Public Health Agency of Canada, 613-948-4532.