BCAHL’s reflections & accomplishments: 2022

The easing of pandemic restrictions brought a sense of hope and positivity to 2022, as British Columbians reconnected with family, friends, and colleagues more often and welcomed the return to much-missed activities.

However, many still struggle, and good health continues to be hampered by inequities. We have our work cut out for us in the year ahead, and we remain committed to ensuring that health and equity are at the foundation of all we do.

This year, BCAHL re-launched the EverybodyMoves Resource Hub on social media as facilities across the province continued to reopen and recreation activities restarted. ParticipACTION’s Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth and the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Physical Activity 2022 emphasize the high levels of inactivity in children, youth and adults, and have served to push us in our advocacy efforts with regard to physical activity and literacy, as well as active transportation.

We will continue to promote spaces, policies and programs to ensure that people across BC have opportunities to be healthy. BCAHL is proud to be working with many partners including organizations that make up the Physical Activity for Health Collaborative that are moving British Columbians to be healthier.

EverybodyMoves Resource Hub relaunch:

This year saw the re-launch of the EverybodyMoves Resource Hub along with a second round of promotions as recreation centres, facilities, and sports teams started to come together again.

This year, we have been steadily adding more resources to the Hub. Resources that can be found in the Hub focus on inclusion and accessibility within sport and physical activity for people living with disabilities, young people, racialized communities and newcomers, and women and LGBTQ2IAS+ communities.

Promotions for the Hub continued to see thousands of impressions and are one of our best-performing campaigns in terms of analytics, as well as in terms of connections we make with other organizations.

Healthy eating & food security:

Access to nutritious food is associated with better health outcomes but food security and accessibility can be complicated by income, personal mobility and geography or neighbourhood. BCAHL continued to advocate for income solutions to food security and were pleased to meet with Hon. Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to underscore the connections between an adequate income, food security and health.

We also conducted a rapid evidence review, which focused on effective interventions to address healthy eating and food security in BC and participated in consultations for a provincial food security framework.

Our fall webinar, “Mobile markets: A food security option” explored mobile markets as a potential solution to low levels of fruit and vegetable consumption in BC, particularly in rural and hard to reach areas.

BCAHL has also partnered with PHABC in developing a food security statement and social media campaign, which we will use to advance our work in food security and healthy eating advocacy. The work on this project has just begun but expect to see the campaign launch on our social media channels in 2023.

Sugary drinks:

This summer, we developed a podcast episode discussing sugary drinks and taxation, where we spoke with Dr. Tom Warshawski (Chair, Childhood Obesity Foundation) and Dr. Jim Krieger (Professor, University of Washington and Executive Director, Healthy Food America) about health concerns from sugary drinks consumption and why it’s important to reduce consumption. The episode also discussed how we can turn it around: by taxing sugary drink products and using the revenues towards health-promoting initiatives, including but not limited to: healthy school food, physical activity and sport, active transportation, and more.

Advocacy on alcohol

BCAHL has been advocating for pricing measures and alcohol warning labels to prevent chronic diseases linked to excessive alcohol consumption.

This year, we participated in the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch’s Minimum Liquor Retail Pricing Consultation and advocated for pricing linked to alcohol content which ahas been shown to have an impact on drinking behaviours. We also hosted a webinar to discuss different types of alcohol warning labels in a variety of jurisdictions, their effects on drinking behaviours, and how we may use them within BC.

We are also in the process of producing a podcast episode on alcohol warning labels, the health concerns experts are seeing regarding alcohol consumption, and how labelling can help change consumer behaviour. We hope this episode will be educational for those who 1) may not be aware of chronic disease and cancer risk related to cancer and 2) who want to support our efforts in promoting alcohol warning labels.

We hope that our communications work will help to promote and support the updated Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines, set to come out on January 17, 2023.

Active transportation:

Besides the continued promotion of or Small Towns, Big Steps in Active Transport project to various groups across BC and Canada, BCAHL has also met the Minister of Transportation, the Minister of State for Infrastructure, the Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development and their staff to discuss research on the multi-faceted benefits of active transportation and speak about our policy recommendations.

Executive Director Rita Koutsodimos also presented the project at the Union of BC Municipalities convention, as well as at a webinar hosted by the Canadian Public Health Association in September. BCAHL was also a presenter at the Public Health Association of BC’s conference in November.

We have found that these conversations generate a lot of enthusiasm and we are excited to see what’s in store for active transportation and how we can support policy changes in this area. 

BC Health Improvement Fund

BCAHL is also working with BC CDC on the BC Health Improvement Fund which is supporting initiatives designed to improve the health and wellness of British Columbians by responding to critical areas of health promotion and structural determinants of health. Stay tuned for more information and an announcement in 2023.

We thank you for an amazing and successful year. We hope that your holiday season is happy, healthy and bright. May your 2023 be more inspired, healthier, and brighter.

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