Poll Shows British Columbians Want Gov’t Action to Improve Children’s Health

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Vancouver (April 24, 2017) – Today, BC Healthy Living Alliance is releasing results from their Health Priorities Survey which shows that 76% of British Columbians are very concerned about the impact of physical activity on children’s health – followed closely by nutrition (68%), mental health (67%) and poverty (65%).

Scott McDonald, Chair of the BC Healthy Living Alliance, said: “We know that 60% of children are not active enough today and the poll shows British Columbians recognize this as a health issue. Interestingly, people in equal numbers support investments to make it easier to walk and bike, which can dramatically increase daily physical activity in children and adults.”

“People vote based on the issues they feel strongly about and we want the parties to know that British Columbians care about making BC healthier for kids.”

Corresponding with these concerns, BC residents support investments to increase quality childcare (85%), active transportation infrastructure (76%), affordable rental housing (76%), mental health community care (74%) and a poverty reduction plan (69%).

The survey shows that mental health has emerged as an important health priority in BC. “The public clearly sees the need for more community-based mental health care but there is also strong support for longer-term prevention measures such as quality childcare and poverty reduction, both of which are protective factors for mental wellness,” said Mary Collins, Director of BCHLA.

“We were encouraged to see it’s not just young families that see the value in childcare. Support is relatively consistent across age groups, family status and income levels, with most wanting government to develop a universal childcare system with low fees.”

Respondents identified the expense of healthy foods as the biggest barrier to eating nutritionally– a challenge that is especially problematic for young people, those in poor health and those with low incomes.

Seventy percent want government to ensure that children in public schools have access to healthy food through breakfast and lunch programs.

BC Healthy Living Alliance commissioned this public opinion research to measure public support for the health recommendations outlined in their #MakeBCHealthier4Kids policy guide.

Sentis Research conducted the 2017 BC Health Priorities Poll on behalf of BCHLA in February, 2017.  On the total sample of 1,241, the results are accurate to within +3%, while for the topic areas (n=823-828), the results are accurate to within +4% (all at the standard 95% level of confidence, or 19 times out of 20). The sample was weighted by gender and age within each region of the province to reflect the actual population of BC adult residents.

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Contact:

Rita Koutsodimos
Manager, Advocacy & Communications
T: 604-989-4546 / 604-629-1630
rkoutsodimos@bchealthyliving.ca
BC Healthy Living Alliance Secretariat

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