By Craig Campbell, News Staff
Hamilton public health workers are waiting to see how recent funding announced by Health Canada may affect local seniors, youth and First Nations communities.
Last week, more than $400,000 in funding under the Public Health Agency’s Healthy Living Fund was awarded to three separate national projects.
“Supporting physical activity in youth and healthy active aging are certainly important areas across Canada,” said Hamilton Public Health Services spokesperson Tara Hall. “These are announcements of very broad initiatives. Until we see what’s actually developed it would be impossible to speculate on their potential impact for Hamiltonians.”
Ready, Set, Go: Educators as Key Intermediaries to Support Physical Activity Guidelines, a program operated by the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association, received $197,529 “to increase the capacity of Canadian educators to promote physical activity among children, youth and their parents…tools will be developed and disseminated to support the implementation of the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.”
The Active Living Coalition for Older Adults received $157,664 for a program called Active Healthy Aging.
St. Elizabeth Health Care in Etobicoke received $57,865 for its program – The Benefits of Physical Activity for First Nations, Inuit and Metis Canadians: Sharing Knowledge and Community Leading Practices.
“We want to increase opportunities for Canadians to be physically active so they can lead a healthier lifestyle,” said Dr. Colin Carrie, parliamentary secretary to the minister of health. “These projects will provide resources to help promote healthy living practices among those who are most at risk of chronic illness due to unhealthy weight or physical inactivity.”
All three programs aim to increase physical activity among Canadians, with the goal of improving individual well-being and quality of life, avoiding illness and injury, and increasing productivity.
According to information provided by Health Canada, the Active Healthy Aging project, conducted by the Active Living Coalition for Older Adults, will develop materials to help community workers integrate physical activity guidelines and preventive strategies for chronic disease to motivate healthy lifestyle changes among older adults.
Patricia Clark, National Executive Director of the Active Living Coalition for Older Adults, told Hamilton Community News the project currently under development will be available across the country later this year.
“We are a national organization and will disseminate our material across Canada,” Clark stated in an email, adding workshops are now being conducted in Winnipeg, London and Nova Scotia.
“Our tool kit will be available in September 2013 and will be mailed out free of charge to community leaders who are interested in a Healthy Lifestyle Workshop for Older Adults.”
Clark said the project will provide tools that encourage older Canadians to maintain and enhance their well-being and independence through a lifestyle that embraces daily physical activities.
Chris Markham, CEO of Ontario Physical and Health Education Association, said in a press release commitment to health promotion, education and inclusion are the building blocks of a strong society.
“Our organization strongly supports the idea that we must all work together to ensure that our young people are equipped with the appropriate knowledge and tools to live a healthy, happy life.”
The Benefits of Physical Activity for First Nations, Inuit and Metis Canadians project aims to adapt the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines to make them culturally relevant for Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities.
Shirlee M. Sharkey, St. Elizabeth Health Care CEO, said in a press release the organization has been working in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities to improve health care delivery at the local level.