The Nova Scotia Alliance for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (Alliance) has a long history of work in Nova Scotia. Launched in 2001, the Alliance has supported networking and knowledge exchange across areas of professional practice to advance both healthy eating and physical activity in N.S. It has supported research to support evidence-based practice and advocated for and informed provincial strategies.
Here are few examples of the work of the Alliance:
Policy development is a key component to creating supportive environments that encourage Nova Scotians to live active health lives. That’s why the Alliance remains committed to recommending and influencing policy changes for organizations, institutions, and all-levels of government. Here’s how the Alliance has influence policy:
The Alliance supported the development of the Healthy Eating Nova Scotia Strategy (HENS). The strategy was produced through a collaborative process led by a working group of the Alliance. Although it was released a decade ago, the principles of breastfeeding, children and youth, fruit and vegetable consumption, and food security remain pillars of health eating policy development.
The Alliance helped make the case for a Comprehensive Physical Activity Strategy through releasing the document, The Case for a Comprehensive Physical Activity Strategy for Nova Scotia. The document called on the Nova Scotia provincial government to commit to health promotion and leadership through a progressive provincial physical activity strategy.
Contributing to research
Access to up-to-date research and evidence is necessary to make the best policy decisions. That’s why the Alliance has members who are leading researchers in physical activity and health eating. In addition to engaging multiple stakeholders, the group also leads and supports research initiatives. The Alliance sponsored research into the physical activity counseling practices of a broad range of healthcare providers across the province. This work informed the “Make a Move” initiative, which was created to increase the quantity and quality of physical activity counseling by health professionals in Nova Scotia through training and support.
Leading education campaigns
Educating the public, community leaders and politicians about the importance of physical activity and healthy eating is an important action in changing policy and perceptions. During the 2012, Nova Scotia Municipal and School Board election the Alliance launched its Add it Up Campaign, directed at school board candidates. The campaign engaged candidates in a survey to determine their support for healthy eating and physical activity, developed fact sheets and conducted a webinar. A literature review was also conducted to describe how academic outcomes are influenced by physical activity and healthy eating.