Prairie communities take pride in their ability to grow quality crops, recognizing their importance to our families and to the future of our communities. The same can be said about our children. Growing healthy families requires that we work together to sustain and nurture the health of our children and their families. Working as partners and engaging local communities will be integral to continuing our tradition of vibrant and healthy children in southwest Saskatchewan!
The Growing Healthy Families coalition is a broad-based child and youth wellness strategy aimed at promoting healthy living and supportive environments in southwest Saskatchewan. Formed in July of 2012, our primary goal is to prevent unhealthy weights and related health conditions in children and youth. Through the help of our partners, we are working together to increase physical activity levels and improve nutrition. Our coalition includes representatives from the following local organizations:
- Cypress Health Region (departments of public health, primary health care, mental health, pediatrics, and quality and performance management),Holy Trinity and Chinook school divisions,
- City of Swift Current,
- South West District for Culture, Recreation, and Sport Inc.,
- The Family Resource Centre in Swift Current, and
- Several other provincial partners, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the University of Saskatchewan, and the Healthy Start program.
Collectively, we are building on and expanding our communities’ strengths by leveraging synergies between our organizations, and contributing to one another’s existing programs. Regular coalition meetings also present an important avenue for information sharing. Our overarching goal is aligned with the province of Saskatchewan’s target for a 5% reduction in the rate of obese children and youth by the year 2022 (source: Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, Plan for 2012-13).
Five strategic areas that we are focusing on currently:
- Promoting healthy lifestyles in schools & in the community
- Making treatment options available for children and youth ages 6-18 years through implementation of the new Family Centre for Weight & Health and MEND
- Improving infant nutrition through an enhanced focus on breastfeeding
- Increasing opportunities for after-school physical activity in Swift Current and our rural communities.
- Studying current risk factors and health outcomes in children and youth living in the Child Youth Summary 2016.