Monday, 16 July 2018
Enjoy the health benefits of nature with free day-use at all provincial parks on July 20!
Ontario’s provincial parks play a vital role in the protection of our natural environment, but did you know spending time in nature is good for your health too?
Ontario Parks supports Healthy Parks Healthy People, a worldwide movement that showcases the very important role that healthy green space plays in human health. At Ontario Parks, we want to see more people outdoors, experiencing the unbelievable health benefits of time in nature. The research is clear: spending time in nature improves our physical, mental, and social well-being.
There’s lots to do!
On July 20, visitors can enjoy the many outdoor activities Ontario Parks has to offer. Whether it’s hiking, cycling, swimming, or paddling, there’s lots to do to stay active in the outdoors. Explore a new park, sample our facilities and services, or enjoy a fun event in a great natural setting.
There are events happening around the province to celebrate Healthy Parks Healthy People:
Do yoga at Balsam Lake Provincial Park! Namaste in nature with sunset yoga on the beautiful beach of Balsam Lake. You’ll leave feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
Enjoy a meditative hike at Awenda Provincial Park. Take a moment to unplug and celebrate Healthy Parks Healthy People on a hike through the veritable living cathedral of Awenda’s old growth forest.
Try forest bathing at Quetico Provincial Park. Join staff in reconnecting with nature and engaging all of the senses. Originating in Japanese culture, Shinrin Yoku or “forest bathing” is a great way to feel calm in the mind, body, and spirit, and is recognized as a form of therapy.
30x30 Nature Challenge
Make nature a habit with the 30x30 Challenge.
The challenge is simple: spend 30 minutes outdoors for 30 days in August. Participants are encouraged to document their journey online with #30x30Challenge.
Want to learn more?
Find more information on Healthy Parks Healthy People here.
Keep up with Ontario Parks on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Visit the Parks Blog for up -to-date content.
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Friday, 13 July 2018
August 11th ~ build your own solitary bee hotel or bird house for $20.
All proceeds to the Kawartha Wildlife Centre.
il.com to reserve your spot!
Space is limited!
All proceeds to the Kawartha Wildlife Centre.
Space is limited!
Monday, 9 July 2018
Proposed new Food Guide and nutrition labeling policies are crucial to helping Canadians achieve better health
By Mary L'Abbe
Collectively called Canada's Healthy Eating Strategy, the proposals by Health Canada have been open to public consultation - and, unfortunately, industry lobbying.
No one is arguing with the rights of all Canadians to be heard on policies proposed by governments. But we must ensure decisions are based on neutral scientific evidence, not the persuasiveness or lobbying budgets of the processed food manufacturing sector.
We need to make sure that conflict of interest is identified and not allowed to influence public health decisions.
Some might wonder why government proclamations are crucial. After all, Canadians generally don't carry the Food Guide to a restaurant or grocery store. And some will say they don't want the government telling them what to eat.
But the goal of these policies is not to mandate what Canadians eat. It's to allow informed choices that lead to better health.
Along with being used by individuals, Canada's Food Guide is the foundation for nutrition curricula in schools across Canada and the basis for meal planning in most institutions: military bases, prisons, daycares, hospitals and retirement residences. It's one of the most powerful policy and education tools available to influence diets and impact our health.
Similarly, food packaging requirements are important and influence food choices, as many studies show.
Unfortunately, as confirmed in a study I conducted last year with colleagues at the University of Toronto, what's stated now on packages often doesn't give consumers the full picture.
For example, many consumers seeing "No added sugar" on the front of a package mistakenly think it means the product has no sugar. But our study found that while more than one-third of fruit drinks made the "No added sugar" claim, 99 per cent of them contained excess free sugar. Free sugars are those added to foods as well as those naturally present in syrup, honey and fruit juice. They're different from the intrinsic sugars found in whole foods such as fruit and vegetables.
Additionally, we found 85 per cent of products claiming to be "reduced in sugar" still contained excess sugar levels. Most food products making reduced or "no added" sugar claims didn't have reduced calories, which studies show most consumers expect on foods with such claims.
It's not for nothing that the food industry invests so much in developing and refining packaging. The information mandated by government - such as the nutrition facts table, what it includes and where it must be placed - directly impacts what we buy and what we eat.
The proposals for prominent and clear front-of-package labelling to identify products high in saturated fat, salt or sugar are sensible and important. They'll allow Canadians to more easily make informed choices.
The long-term impact of these policies is why the process used by the federal government for these important changes is so vital.
Twenty-six of the world's most prominent nutrition experts recently sent a letter to Health Canada stressing that the science is clear: excess consumption of foods and beverages high in energy, added sugar, sodium and saturated fat has a negative impact on health. This group has come out in strong support of front-of-package warning labels as a way to curb consumption of these unhealthy products, most of which are processed junk foods.
We can't afford to have this work undermined by food manufacturers bending the planned policies to favour their products - their short-term gain over Canadians' long-term health.
Millions of Canadians live with diet-related disease, costing $26 billion a year and causing 47,000 deaths in 2016. Almost one in three children is overweight or obese.
Critics of the proposed policies use scare tactics that claim the goal of the changes is to force food choices on Canadians and to hurt our agriculture.
But the goal, of course, is to inform choices, not restrict them. Canadian agriculture has a crucial role in supplying the many nutritious foods we all need and eat every day. That will never change.
What certainly does need to change is our steady march toward obesity and diet-related sickness. Canada's new Healthy Eating Strategy is a much-needed turn away from that fate.Dr. Mary L'Abbe is the Earle W. McHenry Professor and chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, where she leads a research group on Food and Nutrition Policy for Population Health. She also serves as an adviser to the World Health Organization and is an expert adviser with EvidenceNetwork.ca, which is based at the University of Winnipeg.