Interior Health wants to partner with local government to create healthier communities.
The health authority launched its Healthy Communities initiative on Tuesday, part of the Ministry of Health’s Healthy Families B.C. strategy.
“We all know that healthy eating, being physically active, and not smoking can make us healthier but these changes can often be difficult to achieve on our own,” said Lex Baas, Practice Lead, with Interior Health’s Promotion and Prevention department . “When we live in a healthy community it is much easier for us to make healthy choices every day.”
Over 80 per cent of people in southeast B.C. have at least one risk factor for chronic disease, such as being a smoker, being physically inactive, eating an unhealthy diet, or being overweight. Chronic disease – including heart disease, lung disease and diabetes – are the largest cause of death in the Interior Health region.
So now, the health authority is seeking partnerships with local governments to improve the health of residents through policy and environmental changes. IH will help municipalities address areas such as second-hand smoke, access to healthy food, the availability of parks and other green spaces, and recreation opportunities.
“Many local governments have already been doing great work to improve the health of citizens,” said Baas. “Our Healthy Communities Initiative will not only help support this work – it will build upon it to ensure healthy living is top of mind when policy decisions are made.”