Guest blog by the OCDPA Advocacy Working Group
UPDATE (June 10, 2014): Le manuel de revendication/sensibilisation, Faire de l’Ontario la province la plus en santé!, est disponible aussi.
The Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (OCDPA), the collective voice of 23 health-related not-for-profit organizations on effective chronic disease prevention policy and programming, asks all political parties in the June 12 election to:
Commit to accelerate and deepen health promotion efforts to achieve the following targets in these key factor areas by 2018:
- More than 70 per cent of Ontarians are physically active.
- More than 50 per cent of Ontarians eat fruit and vegetables more than 5 times per day.
- Fewer than 30 per cent of Ontarians are either overweight or obese.
- Fewer than 16 per cent of Ontarians do not exceed Canada’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines.*
- Fewer than 15 per cent of Ontarians report experiencing negative mental health symptoms.**
- Ontario to have the lowest smoking prevalence or smoking rate in Canada.
In addition, the campaign asks that all candidates support action to:
- Embed a health impact filter across all government initiatives.
- Focus on reducing health inequities.
In order to make Ontario the healthiest province, a collaborative approach – which includes multiple sectors and stakeholders at the local, regional and provincial levels – must be taken to remove the barriers and increase access to healthy choices. The targets put forward by the OCDPA will not only position Ontario to become the healthiest province but would result in Ontario becoming one of the jurisdictions with the highest life expectancy worldwide.
Sustain Ontario’s Vote ON Food and Farming highlights the important intersection of health, food, and farming in the province. OCDPA’s Healthiest Province Campaign target for healthy eating (> 50% Ontarians eat veg and fruit at least 5 times/day) is a significant but achievable increase from the 2012 Statistics Canada report of 39.4%. Commitment from the government to increase access to healthy foods is an important step.
Visit the HealthiestProvince.ca website for more details on the campaign and specific actions you can take to support it.
*The Canadian Cancer Society recommends that if you choose to drink alcohol, reduce your cancer risk by keeping it to less than 1 drink a day for women and less than 2 drinks a day for men (this is lower than Canada’s Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines).
**Dementia is an umbrella term for a variety of brain disorders that affect cognitive function. Mental illness and dementia, though not the same, are related and intertwined. The OCDPA Healthiest Province campaign target of reducing the number of people who self-report experiencing mental health symptoms includes symptoms related to dementia, including depression, anxiety, and stress.