ABBOTSFORD - The Province is partnering with communities in a grassroots effort to help families live healthier lifestyles and prevent chronic disease.
Comprehensive consultations will take place with local governments around British Columbia over the next few months with the intent to launch Healthy Families BC Communities in early 2012.
As a part of the Healthy Families BC Communities initiative, provincial health authorities will work with interested communities to develop plans to make their city or town healthier. Planning can take place in such areas as physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco reduction, healthy-built environments and priority populations.
Some of the topics to be discussed during upcoming consultations will include:
- Partnerships between the Province, local governments and health authorities.
- Development of community health profiles and community baseline assessments to identify priority actions.
- Recognition of communities that have made a commitment to develop priority actions to improve the health of citizens.
- Targeted health authority intervention to support local actions to address measurable improvements in the health of communities.
- Community events to celebrate success.
Chronic disease and obesity not only result in direct costs to the health-care system, but indirect ones as well. These include increased absenteeism and decreased productivity at work, as well as a lower quality of life.
The Healthy Families BC Communities Initiative is a component of the Healthy Families BC Strategy that was launched in May 2011. This overall strategy supports British Columbians in managing their own health, reducing chronic disease and ensuring that pregnancy and support programs target the province's most vulnerable families. The strategy will also focus on healthy eating - including a greater awareness campaign around sodium and sugary drinks - and a provincial restaurant nutrition information program to help make the healthier choice the easier choice.
This announcement also reflects the Premier's commitment to ensure that the provision of services, including access to health care, is looked at through a rural lens, as communities throughout B.C. will be included.
For further information on Healthy Families BC Communities, please visit: www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca
For photos of the announcement:
Abbotsford Mayor George W. Peary -
"Abbotsford is proud to be a partner in this vital initiative to help families across B.C. live healthier lifestyles. By working together, we can have a greater impact and encourage all residents to adopt practices that help prevent chronic disease before it starts."
Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender -
"I am very excited about this provincial initiative which I believe will be a significant benefit to all communities. Langley has already taken on this challenge and, through our Healthy Community Partnership, everyone in the community is working together to improve lifestyles with a prevention focus."
Al Richmond, Cariboo Regional District chair, and chair of UBCM's Healthy Communities Committee -
"Local governments in B.C. support the provincial government's decision to consult broadly prior to launching a new community health initiative. Healthy communities are a priority for local government, and we look forward to learning more about this provincial initiative."
Dr. Nigel Murray, president and CEO Fraser Health -
"Fraser Health is committed to support health promotion efforts through shared leadership and action with our communities. I commend our local governments for their commitment to healthy living and working together to create healthier communities."
- Chronic disease is the largest contributor to the health-care cost burden in B.C.
- The two most expensive conditions in terms of inpatient hospital costs are heart attacks and strokes, followed by chronic respiratory diseases.
- A strengthened provincial strategy and ongoing investment in prevention can improve the health of British Columbians and potentially avoid up to $2 billion in yearly health-care costs, according to a report released in September 2010 by provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall.
- Obesity alone costs up to $830 million a year to the economy.
Healthy Families BC: www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca.
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)