Thunder Bay leaders unite to make children’s health a priority

November 6, 2014 - Today, leaders in Thunder Bay united to build a healthier community for children at the Healthy Kids Thunder Bay Forum held at the Da Vinci Centre. Over 70 representatives from various sectors strategized with parents and high school students on how to work together to help children and families in our city to thrive and create long-lasting positive changes for kids. Participants learned about existing programs and identified what more can be done to coordinate ongoing efforts and to develop a steering committee to oversee the implementation of a healthy kids Thunder Bay strategy.

The underlying factors affecting children’s health are complex. While biological factors are an important consideration, so are the environments children are growing up in.

“The choices people make depend on the choices they have,” explains Dr. Janet DeMille, Associate Medical Officer of Health. “Parents are trying to raise healthy children but they face many challenges. As individuals, organizations and together as a community, there are many things that we can do to support those parents and families in raising healthy children.”

The Health Unit also unveiled its healthy kids strategy. Working Together for Healthy Kids in Thunder Bay & District outlines how public health will invest its resources in the coming years to promote children’s wellbeing in Thunder Bay and nearby communities. Working in tandem with community partners will be integral to achieving its goals.

“No single organization can create the solution,” says keynote speaker Dr. Mark Tremblay, Director of Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute. “Research tells us that only through coordinated community efforts will we see real, sustained change. It’s exciting to see so many dedicated partners in Thunder Bay who are making children’s health a priority.”

Several community partners in Thunder Bay already have initiatives underway to support healthy living, such as food security programs and street design improvements that encourage active transportation.

To become involved in developing the healthy kids strategy, please contact the Health Unit.

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