Students in Halifax Regional Municipality will have more healthy food choices and opportunities to be physically active, thanks to a $100,000 investment from the province. The grant was provided to Halifax Regional School Board to support schools in becoming Health Promoting Schools. “The Health Promoting Schools program is a perfect example of everyone working together to benefit the health of our children in their school community,” said Health Promotion and Protection Minister Barry Barnet. “This grant is making it possible in Halifax Regional School Board schools.” Health Promoting Schools involves a range of programs, activities, and services that take place in school communities. The program is designed not only to affect the health of individual students, but also to make the places where children live and learn, healthier. Research shows that combining healthy eating and physical activity is the most successful way to promote healthy living. Schools are recognized as an ideal setting to promote healthy eating and physical activity. With the funding, the school board will hire two individuals to support the Health Promoting Schools program. A nutritionist will be hired to implement changes outlined by the school food and nutrition policy and to start more breakfast programs in elementary schools. A health educator will be hired to review school curriculum and assist schools in determining how they can increase healthy eating and physical activity. “Many schools are already thinking this way and already making positive changes” said Janice Silver, consultant for community based education projects with the Halifax Regional School Board. “With this grant we have additional resources to help schools make healthy changes more quickly.” The school board’s existing sport animators and active healthy-living consultant will work together to support the implementation of the new programs and activities. They will have support from Capital Health’s additional public health nutritionists, funded as part of the Healthy Eating Nova Scotia strategy. Families, health professionals, educators, schools, community organizations and young people must all work together to create a successful health promoting school. Recent data from Statistics Canada shows that 32 per cent of Nova Scotia children and youth are overweight or obese, which is above the national average. The benefits of Health Promoting Schools are far reaching — from improving student health and school environments to improving student success at learning. Schools that promote a healthy lifestyle can also empower young people to take responsibility for their health, show pride in their school and take ownership of school policies.