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January 30, 2015
For immediate release

New provincial wellness strategy will help Islanders take steps toward better health

Health and Wellness

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Prince Edward Island’s new wellness strategy will provide Islanders with more opportunity to improve their physical and mental health, says Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie.

“It is well known that the best investments in health are ones that help people to take more control over their own health,” said the minister. “Our wellness strategy will build on the strides Islanders are making as individuals and communities to embrace a culture of wellness and build it into their daily lives.”

The three-year strategy is based on input from Islanders who agreed on five priority areas to improve wellness in the province: mental health, physical activity, healthy eating, living tobacco-free and consuming alcohol responsibly.

Minister Currie said that over the past few years, government has invested in many wellness initiatives that are now seeing positive results. “Whether they are bike lanes and boardwalks, school-based healthy eating and physical activity programs, go!PEI initiatives, smoking cessation, or positive parenting programs, these investments are helping Islanders to take steps toward healthier and more productive lives. Our goal is to build on this success.”

The launch of the strategy is being supported by a community engagement campaign to increase public awareness and engage communities in wellness activities. It is based on research that suggests getting healthier starts with small steps.

A community engagement fund will provide $100,000 in grants over the next year to support community partnerships that support the five wellness priorities.

“The provincial government is pleased to provide leadership to the strategy using a multi-department approach,” said the minister. “However, we know that real success happens at the community level, and we are pleased to make this new funding available for community-led initiatives that get more Islanders started on a path to better health.”

Using the theme “Every little bit counts,” a public awareness campaign will be led by PEI wellness ambassador Heather Moyse. It will use advertising and social media to profile five Islanders who are committed to making healthier choices. The role models are Beverley Boulter whose message is “30 straight days taking a walk”; Darcy Campbell, “6 months tobacco-free”; Paul Chessman, “Always thinking responsible drinking”; Lynn-Anne Hogan, “Working on work/life balance”; and Alexander MacKay, “My life’s sweeter with less sugar.”

The five goals of the strategy are to: increase the number of Islanders who perceive their mental health as excellent or very good; increase physical activity levels and reduce sedentary time; reduce tobacco use and the harm it causes; increase healthy eating behaviours; and reduce heavy and unhealthy drinking behaviours among Islanders.

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Media Contact: Samantha MacKinnon
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