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Healthy Eating

The Population & Public Health Program works with partners across the province to promote healthy eating.
Our activities

The Population and Public Health Program works with partners at PHSA and a variety of stakeholders across the province to promote healthy eating by:

  • Facilitating dialogue and partnering with other sectors to identify problems, implement solutions and evaluate impact of healthy eating initiatives and programs
  • Providing timely, credible and relevant information and resources on healthy eating
  • Supporting the development of food skills
  • Supporting the creation of food environments that provide opportunities to make healthy food choices where British Columbians live, learn, work and play
  • Informing and influencing nutrition policy development.

Our current focus areas include:

  • Coordinating the development of provincial healthy eating resources using a culturally safe and health equity lens.
  • Increasing food literacy through the delivery of the Food Skills for Families program.
  • Identifying gaps in nutrition knowledge and assessing needs for nutrition resources in public health and primary care. 
  • Managing Informed Dining in Health Care.

Provincial healthy eating resource development

In collaboration with the BC Ministry of Health, HealthLink BC, First Nations Health Authority and the regional health authorities, we manage the development of provincial healthy eating resources for health professionals, educators and the general public, which include but are not limited to the following:

Teach Food First is a toolkit for educators developed by the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control in partnership with public health dietitians, BC teachers, and Indigenous Knowledge Keepers. 

The toolkit promotes a food exploration approach that supports life-long eating competence as a key goal for nutrition education for students in grades K-8.  It includes:

  • Practical tips for educators 
  • Grade-specific lessons that connect to BC curriculum 
  • Lessons that explore Indigenous foods and the lands, waters and forests they come from 
  • Answers to frequently asked questions about teaching Canada’s food guide
  • Suggested responses to common questions students ask about nutrition
  • Additional activities and educator resources
Nutri-eSTEP and Nutri-eSCREEN® are accessible web-based electronic self-assessment tools that are designed to provide healthy eating recommendations and feedback to parents of toddlers and pre-schoolers and older adults (50+), respectively. These tools identify things that are going well with regards to healthy eating and nutrition, as well as areas for action based on the user's responses to a series of survey questions. 

Access the tools:

This background paper discusses the current scientific evidence for vitamin D’s role in health for perinatal women and healthy term infants (birth – 12 months), as well as provides information on sources of vitamin D for British Columbians. This paper supports health professionals in providing informed recommendations to their clients to ensure adequate vitamin D intakes for perinatal women and healthy term infants. A practice support tool was created for health professionals to complement the background paper.

 
The Pediatric Nutrition Guidelines provide health professionals with evidence-based nutrition and feeding guidelines for healthy, full-term infants and children up to six-years of age. In addition to food and fluid guidelines, other important nutrition topics are covered such as developmental feeding milestones, nutrition risk indicators, parental influences on eating habits, and food allergies. This resource is intended to be a reference tool for a broad range of health care practitioners, providing easily-accessible, evidence-based, nutrition messaging to support improved child health outcomes.

In 2018, a course was developed on the Learning Hub on how to use the Guidelines to support the consistent training of health professionals across the province.
 

Provincial healthy eating programs

BCCDC manages the following healthy eating programs:

Food Skills for Families is a hands-on skill-building program developed by dietitians and educators. It is offered as a six-session program and is currently delivered to the following priority populations: lower income, newcomers, Punjabi, Indigenous and active seniors. Participants gain knowledge of basic nutrition, learn how to shop and make healthy meals, snacks and beverage choices and gain confidence in the kitchen.

 

The Informed Dining in Health Care program requires retail food service establishments located in health care facilities to provide customers nutrition information with a focus on calories and sodium. The program was developed in consultation with BC's health authorities and has been fully implemented since 2016. 

 
 

Reports & resources

Food Skills for Families Program Evaluation – 2019/2020  

Evaluation report highlighting findings related to program impact and its influence on healthy eating patterns and food literacy and based on feedback from program participants, community facilitators and host organizations. The evaluation was led by the Food Skills for Families team as part of the Population and Public Health Program at BC Centre for Disease Control, in consultation with the BC Ministry of Health. Released January 2021. 

BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program Evaluation – 2017/2018

Summary report highlighting key findings related to program awareness among students, teachers/coordinators and families, awareness of and perceptions on local foods, program impact on students and their families, and program use by teachers to support the delivery of the BC Curriculum. Released November 2018.

Informed Dining in Health Care Evaluation

In 2017, an evaluation of Informed Dining in Health Care was conducted to assess the impact of the program on health care food retail customers. The evaluation was led by the Population and Public Health Program at BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), in consultation with the BC Ministry of Health and food services representatives from the regional health authorities. Released April 2018 



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