Sherry d - trail presentationPresentation Transcript
The Trails of Simcoe County: A Symposium of Trail Development April 13, 2010 Presentation by Sherry Diaz Public Health Nurse Chronic Disease Prevention, Healthy Lifestyle Program Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
Rates of Chronic Disease in Simcoe Muskoka are a Concern
Stand up if you know someone who has been impacted by:
Type 2 diabetes
Chronic Disease Impact
In Canada, 16 million people live with chronic diseases. These diseases seriously affect their quality of life and cause premature death.
Type 2 diabetes at one time more prevalent in the older adult population is now is being seen in younger adults and even children.
The number of Canadians who are overweight or obese has also steadily increased.
Research links unhealthy food
choices and sedentary lifestyles
with the risk for chronic disease.
A sedentary lifestyle is just
as dangerous to our health as
smoking a pack of cigarettes
George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)
If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.
What makes a community healthy?
A healthy community is one that embraces the belief that health is more than merely an absence of disease; a healthy community includes those elements that enable people to maintain a high quality of life and productivity.
Qualities of a Healthy Community
Clean and safe physical environment
Peace, equity and social justice
Adequate access to food, water, shelter, income, safety, work and recreation for all
Adequate access to health care services
Opportunities for learning and skill development
Strong, mutually supportive relationships and networks
Workplaces that are supportive of individual and family well-being
Wide participation of residents in decision-making
Strong local cultural and spiritual heritage
Diverse and vital economy
Protection of the natural environment
Responsible use of resources to ensure long term sustainability
(Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition)
Sustainable community development is about human well-being; that is, enabling people to lead healthy and economically productive lives in a clean environment, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Public Health Agency of Canada)
Action is Needed
Action is needed to increase the capacity for residents to make healthy choices and decrease the barriers to physical activity and healthy eating.
It is our shared responsibility to ensure individuals, families and commmunities in Simcoe Muskoka are the healthiest possible….we must work collaboratively and strategically to increase opportunities for residents to make healthy choices. I call on everyone to act now for a healthy future.
(Dr. Charles Gardner, Medical Officer of Health)
Achieving a Healthy Community
Community wide participation
Broad involvement of all sectors of the community
Local government commitment
Creation of healthy public policies
All sectors of the community are inter-related and share their knowledge, expertise and perspectives, and work together to create a healthy community
What is generally the first step?
Real & Perceived Barriers to an Active Lifestyle
Lack of awareness of the importance of physical activity
Lack of understanding that physical activity can be added up even 10 minutes at a time to meet daily recommendations
Lack of understanding of the range of activities that constitute physical activity – you don’t need to be a marathon runner!
Belief that physical activity is competitive, organized sport-based, expensive, or requires specific skills and athletic abilities
Increased "non-active" time spent on TV, video, computer games and surfing the internet
Lack of time, energy and interest, skill, sidewalks or facilities
Excessive cost, long term illness, disability, fear of injury or safety, weather
Lack of knowledge of the definition, features and values of health promotion e.g. use of the term “Walkable Community” or “Active Transportation”
A Walkable Community is…
Defined as a community where walking, biking, and other modes of human-powered activity is supported and encouraged in the daily living of residents.
It is a community that features a medium density mix of housing, stores, businesses, schools, and destinations in walking distance with paths, trails and sidewalks that connect neighbourhoods to one another. In addition, walkable communities are attractive, invite further exploration, and are places where people feel safe.
It is an important aspect of a healthy and vibrant community.
Active Transportation vs. Recreational Physical Activity
Recreational physical activity is defined as exercise, sports, recreation or hobbies occurring during leisure time.
Physical activity for utilitarian reasons (often referred to as active transportation)
is non-motorized, human-powered modes of transportation such as walking, cycling and wheeling to and from places such as work, school, shopping, carrying out errands for visiting friends. Essentially, it is building physical activity opportunities into everyday life.
Different Built Environments
Recreational physical activity requires e.g. baseball diamonds, tennis courts, arenas, soccer fields, recreation centres etc.
Utilitarian physical activity requires e.g. environments with connecting sidewalks, bicycle lanes, pathways etc. along with amenities within reasonable distances.
What can support both recreational and utilitarian physical activity?
Simcoe Muskoka walkON Survey
A walkON survey was conducted in order to understand the current levels of awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and practices of Simcoe Muskoka residents regarding walkable communities.
Questions were asked about physical activity levels in general as well as for both recreational and utilitarian purposes
e.g. “In a typical week in the past 3 month, how many hours did you usually spend walking to work or to school or while doing errands?’
Pertinent Survey Findings
A majority of survey respondents felt that their ability to be physically active was affected by their neighbourhood.
They highest percentages went to:
having roads, sidewalks, and pathways that were in good condition, that were connected to each other, and that were well-lit at night.
as well as having parks within a 5-10 minute walk from their neighbourhood.
Pertinent Survey Findings
Survey participants were asked the question, “Do you have trails or pathways within a 5-10 minute walking or cycling distance of your home?”
For those who answered “no”, a second question was asked about the degree to which they would support “adding trails or pathways to their neighbourhood or community”
Over one third (35%) of respondents do not have trails or pathways with 5-10 minutes walking or cycling distance for their home. Almost three quarters of these (75%) would support adding trails or pathways to their neighbourhood or community.
Over two-thirds (68%) of respondents found that having trails or pathways within a 5-10 minute walking or cycling could affect their ability to be physically active.
Pertinent Survey Findings
Survey participants were also asked whether they had ever read about or heard the term “walkable community” and 69% of the respondents had not heard or read it.
Having heard the term “walkable community” was not a factor in being physically active in a typical week but it could influence the number of days of physical activity. This was statistically significant and highlights the importance of awareness-raising and knowledge building initiatives.
Relevant Survey Recommendations
Partner with other agencies to add and build upon the findings of the survey
Conduct social marketing campaigns that highlight the concept of walkable communities, introducing the concept of walking or cycling as the principle transportation mode for common trips to locations that are taken on an almost daily basis.
There needs to be a shift from personal or individual action towards community or group action on behalf of improving the walkability of the neighbourhood.
Promote walkability surveys with community partners to facilitate the evaluation of people’s own neighbourhoods, and to identify the existence or lack of supportive infrastructure and nearby services.
Include media relations, print materials, audio-visual presentations, advertising, special events, internal communication, speeches, e-communications etc.
What communication strategies to increase awareness in the community do you or your organizations use?
Communication and mass media campaigns have an important role to play in influencing community consciousness, awareness, knowledge and behaviour.
Use special events to build awareness and enthusiasm. Special events encourage people to try a new way of getting around, even for just one day e.g. commuter challenge, International car-free Day, International Walk to School Month, Bike to Work Week and other events tailored to fit local circumstances.
Recognize and reward local successes.
Marketing the Message: Considerations
Consider all population groups
Understand the target populations you wish to reach
Explain the link between health, active transportation and the environment
It is not about restricting the use of motorized vehicles but about enhancing healthy travel choices and opportunities
Transform an automobile reliant community
Identify links and extensions of existing bikeways, sidewalks and trails
Focus on a variety of settings including schools, workplaces, neighbourhoods and facilities
Private businesses can provide funds, equipment and/or expertise for special events, building projects, facility and trail construction.
Many provincial grant programs exist.
Business leaders can serve as personal ambassadors for active living.
Mass media are important partners for creating awareness and disseminating physical activity messages, campaigns and events.
Community Level Strategies to Build Awareness
Internal communications among peers/colleagues
Hosting public information sessions and workshops
Building support for public policy related to health and the built environment
Organizing local pedestrian advocacy groups
Influencing planning policy
Working with the media
What to Take Away
Know that it takes time to influence behaviour
but every effort moves people along stages
It’s a win-win opportunity if we work together to
raise awareness about active transportation and walkable communities
Be aware of the ways in which you can support active living
Make it easy for residents to make healthy choices
Be Involved in raising awareness about active transportation
Speak out for changes in the community that support healthy living
Resources and Key Messages Found at:
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit – Call Health Connection or visit www.simcoemuskokahealth.org