Doctors Nova Scotia wins national award

Doctors Nova Scotia is the 2012 recipient of the Ron Draper Health Promotion Award given by the Canadian Public Health Association.

Dr. Robert Strang, chief public health officer of Nova Scotia, nominated the association for the award in recognition of its Kids’ Run Club program. 

The nomination was supported by Farida Gabbani, senior director of physical activity with Sport and Recreation Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness. Additionally, a parent of a Kids’ Run Club participant as well as a teacher who facilitates the program at Falmouth District School supported the nomination.

“We are thrilled that one of our members and a respected member of the health promotion community recognized our dedication to improving the health and fitness levels of our youth, and nominated us for this award,” said Dr. John Finley, President of Doctors Nova Scotia.

The Kids’ Run Club, now in its eighth year, saw more than 16,300 kids from 225 schools across the province participate last year.

The free school-based program aims to educate children about the importance of leading a physically active and healthy life while giving them an opportunity to be active through running. Its goal is to instill the importance of regular physical activity in children so they form habits that become part of their everyday lives as adults.

The program is flexible to meet the needs of each student and school involved. Participants can run, jog, or walk some or all of the distance. The program is designed to influence physical activity levels and increase self esteem among Nova Scotia’s youth.

Physicians know that today’s generation of Canadians may not live as long as past generations largely due to rising obesity rates across the country. Obesity is caused by the combination of unhealthy eating and inactivity. Doctors Nova Scotia is committed to making a difference from helping more than 16,300 kids get active with the Kids’ Run Club to sponsoring numerous healthy lifestyle organizations and events. 

“Inactivity can increase the risk of developing chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and certain forms of cancer,” said Dr. Finley.

“Kids need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily and the Kids’ Run Club provides this opportunity,” he added.

The Ron Draper Health Promotion Award is presented annually to an individual, group or organization engaged in community work who has made a significant contribution to health promotion by working in the community to build healthy public policy, create environments that support health, enable community action, enhance personal skills, and/or re-orient health services.

In addition to serving its membership, Doctors Nova Scotia works to promote high quality health care and disease prevention in Nova Scotia by educating the public on the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.

The association plays a role in keeping Nova Scotians informed on important health-care issues while also providing input on health-care policies and legislation such as the smoke-free legislation, banning cell phones while driving, and banning the use of indoor tanning beds for those under 19.

Key priorities for the association include being active, healthy eating, smoking cessation, and annual influenza immunization. The association’s commitment to achieving a healthier province is the driving force behind its health promotion initiatives and partnerships with various health-care stakeholders.

Doctors Nova Scotia will be presented with the award at the Canadian Public Health Association’s 2012 annual conference on June 13.