The Healthy Kids Community Challenge Hastings Prince Edward is pleased to share the results of its recent report, Healthier Food and Beverage Programs, Policies, and Supports in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties: Findings and Recommendations.
The Healthy Kids Community Challenge (HKCC) is a community-led program that encourages partners from different sectors to work together to promote the health and well-being of children aged 0-12. To guide local recommendations that will support program planning for the HKCC and its community partners, a review of healthier food and beverage programs, policies, and supports was undertaken in the fall of 2016. Through public consultation, this review identified local community priorities related to improving access to healthier food and beverages for children. Across Hastings and Prince Edward Counties (HPEC), 262 eligible parents or guardians and 70 stakeholders were surveyed, while 24 participants took part in focus group discussions. Public feedback was combined with a review of best and promising practices to inform recommendations by sector.
- Among parents surveyed, the most commonly cited barriers to accessing healthier foods and beverages in HPEC were: time (60 per cent), cost (53 per cent), dietary restrictions (53 per cent), distance to the nearest supermarket (30 per cent), and child preferences/picky eating (30 per cent).
- Among parents surveyed, the top five recommendations to overcome barriers were: increase access to hydration stations (59 per cent); increase access to healthier choices at municipal facilities (47 per cent); increase access to school gardens (45 per cent); increase access to food skills and cooking classes (37 per cent); and increase access to community gardens (37 per cent).
- Among organizations surveyed, 68 per cent currently have established policies or practices that encourage children to consume healthier beverages, and 47 per cent have established policies or practices that encourage children to consume healthier foods.
- Among organizations surveyed, 64 per cent currently have on-site amenities to support healthy eating and/or hydration, such as a kitchen for cooking and/or food preparation, group meal space, food distribution amenities, water bottle refill station and/or water fountain, or vegetable/fruit gardens.
“We are very grateful to the many community members and community partners who participated in the consultation process,” said Emma Pillsworth, Local Project Manager for the Healthy Kids Community Challenge Hastings Prince Edward. “Work is already underway to put a number of the recommendations into action within our community.”
The HKCC hosted a knowledge sharing event in March to share results from the report with community partners and to address next steps, which will include supportive programming, staff training, and recognition awards.