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Ontario Public Health Standards Mapped Against the Nutrition Resource Centre Programs

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1. Introduction

This article provides descriptions of the Nutrition Resource Centre (NRC) programs and resources including the implementation process and available support materials. A general overview of the Ontario Public Health Standards is presented, followed by the specific standards and program requirements against which the specific NRC programs and resources are mapped.

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2. Nutrition Resource Centre (NRC) Programs / Resources Descriptions

A. Eat Smart!

The Eat Smart! School Program will become more comprehensive to include nutrition standards for snack vending machines and snack bars, in addition to cafeterias. The program will also encourage the creation of "Healthy Eating Action Teams" comprised of all stakeholders within participating schools (comprehensive health promotion approach) and the development of additional standards (pricing, placement, and promotion).

The new snack vending machine and snack bar standards developed for the Recreation Centre program will be integrated into the Eat Smart! School Program for implementation in 2009. Provincial promotional materials to support all components of the program are available. A consultant has been engaged to develop comprehensive standards (pricing, placement, promotion and the development of healthy eating action teams). These standards will be pilot tested and integrated into the program to be ready for Spring 2009.

The Eat Smart! Workplace Program will become more comprehensive to include nutrition standards for snack vending machines and snack bars, in addition to cafeterias. The program encourages working with the Workplace Wellness Committee or Health & Safety committee (comprehensive health promotion approach) and the development of additional standards (pricing, placement, and promotion). The new snack vending machine and snack bar standards developed for the Recreation Centre program will be integrated into the Healthy Workplace Program for implementation in 2009.

NRC is currently undertaking a process with input from provincial stakeholders to reposition the Eat Smart! Restaurant Program to better fit within the current environment (other existing programs, changing priorities in health units, etc.) Provincial promotional materials to support all components of the program are available.  

Pilot testing of the Eat Smart! Recreation Centre Program in seven health units is finished and includes snack bar and snack vending components. The evaluation report will be completed in  2008 but the provincial launch of the program has been delayed. Materials available to support the implementation of the program include posters, vending machine banners, consumer education brochure, and a toolkit that provides guidance on implementing the Eat Smart! Recreation Centre program for health units.

The Eat Smart! program also includes a food safety standard.

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B. Caregiver Resources: BusyBodies, Eat Right Be Active and Fuel Up for Fun (Fall 2008)

These are are bilingual resources for caregivers of preschoolers and children aged 6 - 8 and include healthy eating and physical activity content. The development of these resources is an initiative of the HEAL Action Plan. They provide consistent messages province-wide and connect to provincial initiatives, such as Eat Right Ontario. Fuel Up For Fun will be available on the NRC website by the end of October. Health units can order bulk quantities free of charge. All resources are featured on the Eat Right Ontario website and health units can also order bulk quantities of BusyBodies and Eat Right Be Active free of charge using the order form on the NRC website.

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C. NutriSTEP® Nutrition Screening Tool for Every Preschooler

This resource includes parent education and service provider materials to increase nutrition awareness and knowledge. Development and distribution of the accompanying Implementation Toolkit includes parent education and service provider materials to increase nutrition awareness and knowledge. The Toolkit is intended for service providers only; parents should not be accessing this resource. It includes materials to increase nutrition awareness and knowledge, for example, parent resources on feeding preschoolers as well as referral mapping to link parents to appropriate community programs and services.

NutriSTEP® can be used in Health Units' Child, Family and School Health programs and the HBHC program. NutriSTEP® can also be used as a nutrition surveillance tool for the early years.

NutriSTEP™ also includes early ID and intervention of nutrition related issues including dietary, physical activity and growth concerns. It can be used for surveillance of nutrition indicators in preschool aged children (3-5 years) including dietary intake, physical activity and screen time, and growth issues, as well as in OEYCs/Best Start Hubs to monitor and evaluate interventions.

Health units can download materials online. The EatRight Ontario dietitians will be able to assist parents with their questions and concerns as well as practitioners and agencies who wish to consider implementing a NutriSTEP® program in their community.

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D. The Community Food Advisor (CFA) Program

This program is designed to be implemented and sustained in a community with ongoing input from community partners. CFAs are peer educators who represent priority populations and/or receive specialized training to enable them to work effectively with other agencies and people from priority populations. They are trained volunteers who can provide presentations and food demos on a variety of topics related to healthy eating throughout their community.

The CFA Program includes training and skill development in safe food handling skills. All CFAs must complete the Food Handlers' Course. "Food Safety" is one of the most popular presentations delivered by CFAs (189 times in 2007). CFAs also receive training in proper hand washing techniques as well as effective ways to teach hand washing and incorporate it into all presentations / food demos. Training is provided to teach others basic food skills - procurement, storage and preparation - and how to integrate that with healthy eating as recommended by Canada's Food Guide. CFAs are trained and skilled in public presentations and food demos that can take place at health fairs, shopping centres, grocery stores, food banks, schools etc. CFAs often partner with Best Start and other early parenting programs teaching basic food skills and healthy eating for both parents and kids.

The NRC provides guidance and resources to health units or community health centres to start a CFA Program. Presentation kits for use by trained CFAs are available to support the implementation of the program in a community. A listserv, newsletter and web site are available for CFA program volunteers and coordinators.

Examples:

  • Elgin-St. Thomas CFAs received additional training to allow them to provide presentations to the Low German Mennonite population (spoken language only).
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health "Motiv8" initiative will be inclusive of the CFA Program and will promote healthy eating and physical activity with various community partners and work places.
  • CFAs in Guelph and London work with local Good Food Box programs to provide information / tips on how to use the contents.
  • CFAs in Kingston lead Basic Shelf programs with various priority populations in their community. In 2007, CFAs provided 480 presentations on basic food skills, and 895 presentations on healthy eating.
  • Hamilton CFAs participate in the annual Ancaster Fall Fair and provide over 3000 school children with a taste of seasonal vegetables on one day every fall.
  • Ottawa CFAs partnered with "Youth Heart Beat" under the umbrella of "Partners in Healthy Living" to involve CFA volunteers in the "I ?2 Cook" program.
  • CFAs in Peel take the GloGerm kit to local schools.

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E. Colour It Up  ...Go for More Vegetables and Fruit

Formerly known as TAKE Five: 5 -10 a day ... your way!, this program can be implemented by health units or health units can collaborate or coordinate the program being run by other partners in various community settings. Partnerships are encouraged in the program materials. The program is designed to promote increased vegetable and fruit consumption to women and their families. By targeting women ages 19 - 50 (many of whom may be caregivers to children), changes may be made in the household that could increase the entire family's consumption of vegetables and fruit.

The impetus for Colour It Up is consistent with scientific evidence indicating that increased vegetable and fruit consumption is an important factor in reducing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The program was pilot tested and evaluated and found to be effective in increasing vegetable and fruit consumption.  When delivered as intended, Colour It Up provides sufficient intensity, duration and exposure to program materials to allow for successful behaviour changes among the participants. Skill-building components are included as part of the program. The program is supported by coordinator support, program materials and promotional items available from the NRC.

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3. Ontario Public Health Standards

The Ontario Public Health Standards outline requirements for public health programs and services including assessment and surveillance, health promotion and policy development, disease and injury prevention, and health protection. The standards outline the expectations for boards of health, and cover a broad range of population-based activities. Requirements, i.e., specific statements of action, have been developed for each standard.

The NRC has mapped its programs and resources against the Public Health Standards.  The information presented below is also available in table format: http://www.nutritionrc.ca/public-health-standards_04JU08.pdf.

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4. Ontario Public Health Standards Mapped Against the Nutrition Resource Centre Programs / Resources and Implementation Process

A. Program Standard - Chronic Disease Prevention

Program Requirement - Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirement 3: The Board of Health shall work with school boards and/or staff of elementary, secondary, and post-secondary educational settings, using a comprehensive health promotion approach, to influence the development and implementation of healthy policies, and the creation or enhancement of supportive environments to address the following topics: healthy eating.

NRC programs/resources:

  • Eat Smart! Ontario's Healthy School Program
  • Eat Smart! Ontario's Healthy Workplace Program
  • Colour It Up

Program Requirement - Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirement 5: The Board of Health shall collaborate with local food premises to provide information and support environmental changes through policy development related to healthy eating and protection from environmental tobacco smoke.

NRC programs/resources:

  • Eat Smart! Ontario's Healthy Restaurant Program

Program Requirement - Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirement 6: The Board of Health shall work with municipalities to support healthy public policies and the creation or enhancement of supportive environments in recreational settings and the built environment regarding the following topics:  healthy eating.

  • Eat Smart! Recreation Centre Program

Program Requirement - Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirement 7: The Board of Health to increase capacity of community partners to coordinate and develop local programs and services related to healthy eating including community based food activities.

NRC programs/resources:

  • Community Food Advisor (CFA) Program
  • Colour It Up

Program Requirement - Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirement 8: The Board of Health shall provide opportunities for skill development in the areas of food skills and healthy eating practices for priority populations.

NRC programs/resources:

  • Community Food Advisor (CFA) Program

Program Requirement - Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirement 11: The Board of Health shall increase public awareness in the following areas: healthy eating, healthy weights, and physical activity.

  • Caregiver Resources: BusyBodies, Eat Right Be Active and Fuel Up for Fun
  • Community Food Advisor (CFA) Program
  • NutriSTEP®

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B. Program Standard - Family Health

Program Requirement - Child Health, Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirement 5: The Board of Health shall increase public awareness of healthy eating, healthy weights, and physical activity, by: a. Adapting and/or supplementing national and provincial health communications strategies; and/or b. Developing and implementing regional/local communications strategies.

NRC programs/resources:

  • Caregiver Resources: BusyBodies, Eat Right Be Active
  • NutriSTEP®
  • Community Food Advisor (CFA) Program

Program Requirement - Child Health, Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirement 6: The Board of Health shall provide in collaboration with community partners parenting programs and supports which include group sessions.

NRC programs/resources:

  • The Community Food Advisor (CFA) Program

Program Requirement - Child Health, Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirement 7: The Board of Health shall provide advice and information to link people to community programs and services on the following topics: healthy eating, healthy weights, and physical activity.

NRC programs/resources:

  • Caregiver Resources: BusyBodies, Eat Right Be Active
  • NutriSTEP®
  • Colour It Up

Program Requirement - Child Health, Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirement 11: The Board of Health shall facilitate access and support for families to complete screening tools to monitor their child's health and development, and provide a contact for families to discuss results and arrange follow-up.

NRC programs/resources:

  • NutriSTEP®

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C Program Standard - Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control

Program Requirement - Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirement 4: The Board of Health shall work with community partners to improve public knowledge of infection prevention and control practices.

NRC programs/resources

  • Community Food Advisor (CFA) Program

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D Program Standard - Environmental Health

Program Requirement - Health Promotion and Policy Development

The Board of Health shall increase public awareness of food-borne illnesses and safe food-handling practices and principles by: a. Adapting and/or supplementing national and provincial food safety communications strategies; and/or b. Developing and implementing regional/local communications strategies.

NRC programs/resources:

  • Eat Smart! Program
  • Community Food Advisor (CFA) Program

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5. NRC Resources

  • Color It Up is supported by coordinator support, program materials and promotional items available from NRC. Visit the website at http://www.nutritionrc.ca or call (416) 367 3313 Ext.222.
  • BusyBodies and Eat Right Be Active resources are available online through the Eat Right Ontario website at http://www.eatrightontario.ca. Health units can also get order bulk quantities of BusyBodies and Eat Right Be Active free of charge using the order form on the NRC's website at http://www.nutritionrc.ca.
  • Fuel Up For Fun, Fall 2008 will be available on the NRC website by the end of October at http://www.nutritionrc.ca.
  • Presentation Kits for use by trained Community Food Advisors are available to support the implementation of the program in a community. A listserv, newsletter and web site is available for CFA program volunteers and coordinators. For more information visit http://www.nutritionrc.ca or call (416) 367 3313 Ext.222.
  • Health units can download materials online for NutriSTEP®. For more information visit http://www.nutritionrc.ca or call (416) 367 3313 Ext.222.
  • Information on the Eat Smart! Program is available at http://www.EatSmartOntario.ca or by calling (416) 367 3313 Ext.222.
  • The Eat Right Ontario website is at http://www.eatrightontario.ca.