The Ontario Government has created the Healthy Kids Community Challenge to motivate communities, to engage youth to become more active and eat healthier. The challenge is being delivered locally by 45 different regions/municipalities throughout Ontario. Niagara Falls, along with the other 11 Niagara Region municipalities are participating in partnership through Healthy Kids Community Challenge Niagara. About every nine months, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will launch a new theme related to physical activity, learning or healthy eating. The Challenge enables municipalities to tailor programming for their community to encourage youth to participate.
This first theme, Run. Jump. Play. Every day. started on May 1 in Niagara Falls. This theme encouraged physical activity through a mix of active play, sport, active transportation and structured activities. The City of Niagara Falls, along with its partners created the Niagara Falls Activity Passport for theme 1 in an attempt to reach all Niagara Falls students within grades 1 through 6 to get active. A youth fitness station was also built at the MacBain Community Centre.
Theme two, Water Does Wonders targets water comspumtion with youth. The theme concentrates on media campaigns to make youth aware of the benefits of water and the negative impact that sugar drinks can have. Municipalities were also allotted budget to purchase and install water filling stations in public areas concentrated with youth.
The last theme, Choose Veggies and Fruits targets eating habits and encourages a healthy intake of vegetables and fruits. The City of Niagara Falls has partnered with local agencies to develop a new community garden area that also acts as an outdoor learning centre equipped with a portable kitchen. The gardens is a way to show youth how to grow healthy produce and the benefits of whole foods.
For more information, please contact the Healthy Kids Community Challenge Niagara Steering Committee.