Victoria County Council Approves Healthy Eating in Municipal & Physical Activity Recreation & Sports Settings Draft Policy


HERSSPicSept2015Sarah Ross-Public Health Nutritionist, Aron Ashton-Public Health Educator & Vince Forrestall–Victoria County Physical Activity Strategy Coordinator presented at the recent Victoria County Municipal Council bi-weekly meeting held Monday, July 25, 2016 on Healthy Eating in Municipal & Physical Activity Recreation & Sports Settings (HERSS VC) Draft Policy in Victoria County (Please see the following link for the presentation and the draft policy: or download here for your convenience:





Healthy Eating is included in the work of Municipal Physical Activity Strategy (Naturally Active for Life Victoria County) Since 2011 & during the 2016 – 2017 renewal year:  

Goal 5: Policies – Engage and work with federal, provincial, municipal, first nation and community agencies to develop and monitor policies that promote physical activity and healthy eating indoors and outdoors

       5.5: Work with local physical activity, recreation and sports facilities to implement provincial healthy eating guidelines 

During the presentation the presenters shared a number of key statistics with council to make the case for the importance of a policy in Victoria County benefiting residents & visitors: 

  • 28% of CBDHA (Cape Breton District Health Authority) population surveyed are overweight or obese
  • 80% reported having at least one chronic health condition in NS
  • Not eating the daily recommended amount of fruits & vegetables is the number three health risk amongst Victoria County Residents
  • 47% Victoria County residents that did NOT meet Canada’s Food Guide Daily requirements for fruits and vegetables
  • Only 31.5% surveyed in CBDHA (Cape Breton District Health Authority) consumed the recommended 5 fruit & vegetable daily servings. 54% of adults did not meet the vegetable & fruit recommendations
  • Nova Scotia Grade 5 Students, 2011, only 33% met Canada’s Food Guide (CFG) recommendations for vegetable & fruit intake, 50% met CFG (Canada’s Food Guide) recommendations for milk & alternatives  

Evidence shows that education on its own does not work or change behavior. Evidence shows that using approaches such as policy and supportive environments works. An example of this was given and included the “Baddeck Pharmacist (Graham MacKenzie, Stones Pharmasave Owner) Pulls Sugary Drinks Off Shelves”:

  • 6% of carbonated sales in Baddeck
  • Summer peak weekly sales declined by 11.4% as a whole in Baddeck in post intervention period
  • After controlling for model specified seasonality, sales decreased by 21.4%. Not bad for a store that sold only 6% of carbonated beverages overall in Baddeck!
  • Another unexpected finding – buying patterns did not shift to other retail outlets in the Village 

The policy scope applies to all foods & beverages served and sold at Municipal Physical Activity, Recreation & Sports Facilities, settings, programs, meetings, and events, which includes:

  • Vending machines
  • Canteens
  • Catering
  • Café/restaurants
  • Dining halls
  • Tournaments
  • Sporting events
  • Hospitality suites
  • Special events and festivals
  • Meetings
  • Training
  • Programming for all ages 

The policy components includes the following:

  • Food & Beverages
  • Portion Sizes
  • Food Safety
  • Breastfeeding
  • Dietary Considerations
  • Clean Drinking Water 

Foods and beverages will fit into three categories:

  • Maximum – 50% or more
  • Moderate – 40%
  • Minimum – 10% or less 

It was pointed out to council that a spirit of cooperation already exists in Victoria County as the strategy has been providing healthy eating opportunities & exposure (Since 2012) in Victoria County proudly supported by the Municipal Physical Activity Strategy in partnership with volunteers, leaders, organizations and facility operators, including some of the following initiatives which were highlighted during the presentation: 

  • Bras d’Or Yacht Club: Junior Sailing Healthy Snacks (Since 2012)
  • Eat, Drink & Be Healthy Sessions (Chef & Dietician)
  • Workplace Wellness Network Luncheons – Education, awareness
  • Don WM Nicholson Consulting – 4 season food: your own growing healthy workshop & soil prep, crop selection and growing workshop
  • Baddeck Academy – Health & Wellness Fair (Since 2013)
  • Cabot Education Centre – 1st Health & Wellness Day–Health Eating
  • After School–Healthy Living Program-Cabot Junior A Basketball Team
  • Bay St Lawrence Community Centre-Santa’s Workshop: Christmas Apples & Oranges
  • Englishtown Community Hall Association – Our Journey to Better Health
  • Wagmatcookewey School – Fresh Fruit Fridays
  • Girls Only After-school programs: Healthy Snacks
  • 5 2 1 0 Cape Breton
  • BaM Cape Breton (Body & Mind Program)
  • Baddeck Community Garden
  • North of Smokey North Highlands Orchard Project-Grow More Healthy fruit (Since 2014)
  • Amongst other initiatives  

Also, school settings (CBVRSB) in Victoria County have made a difference since 2007. In 2007, CBVRSB fully implemented the NS Food & Nutrition Policy for all foods sold and served at schools. The following successes achieved were highlighted during the presentation: 

  • All deep fryers were removed
  • All carbonated beverages were removed from vending machines and canteens
  • Only beverages available in vending are water and 100% juice
  • All regular chips (over 5g of fat) were removed from canteens & vending
  • All chocolate bars were removed from canteens & vending 

The implementation of the HERSS VC Policy includes the following:

  • The approved policy by council
  • Outreach to volunteers, leaders, organizations and facility operators in Victoria County to garner buy-in & ownership in partnership
  • NEW Victoria County HERSS Assistance Funds for municipal workplace wellness & volunteers, leaders, organizations and facility operators in Victoria County in support of the policy  



What does this mean for Victoria County?

Support other healthy eating policies (i.e. schools & daycares)

Promote Local Food

Provide Municipal Assistance Funds

Demonstrate leadership & positive role modeling

Work collaboratively together to create healthy communities


Presenters acknowledged the following:

Victoria County HERSS Working Group (See members below)

Antigonish HERSS Working Group

Bridgewater HERSS Working Group

Lunenburg & Yarmouth HERSS Working Groups

NS Health Authority (Eastern Region) & Public Health Services

Wagmatcook First Nation

Naturally Active for Life Victoria County 

Working Group Members (Victoria County HERSS) were thanked for all their work on this initiative now & in the future:

  • Sarah Ross, Public Health Nutritionist
  • Aron Ashton, Public Health Educator
  • Eileen Woodford, Victoria County Physical Activity Strategy Chair
  • Debbie Madore, Nutrition for Learning Dietitian, CBVRSB
  • Debbie MacLean, Manager of Nutrition & Food Services
  • Michelle LeBlanc, Buchanan Memorial Hospital Dietician
  • Mary Jessome-Pierro, Dietitian – Wagmatcook First Nation (CBDHA Staff)
  • Terry Bernard, Wagmatcook Mi’Kmaw Physical Activity Coordinator
  • Eliot Frosst, Victoria County Action Network (Victoria County Physical Activity Strategy)
  • Graham MacKenzie, Stones Pharmasave Owner
  • George Smith, Chef
  • Alicia Lake, Cape Breton Food Hub Coordinator
  • Vince Forrestall, Victoria County Physical Activity Coordinator 

Council approved the Healthy Eating in Municipal & Physical Activity Recreation & Sports Settings (HERSS VC) Draft Policy in Victoria County following the presentation. 

A number of testimonials, comments have been shared since the approval of the draft HERSS VC Policy:

    • Good presentation (HERSS: Healthy Eating in Physical Activity Recreation Sports Settings in Victoria County Policy to Council – July 25, 2016)” – Alicia Lake, Coordinator, Cape Breton Food Hub (July 26, 2016)
  • Great work on the presentation this evening” Graham MacKenzie, Owner, Stone’s Pharmasave  (July 25, 2016)
  • A big thank you to you Vince for all of your hard work!!! You, Aaron and Sara did an excellent job presenting (HERSS VC) Monday evening (July 25, 2016) and have put in so much time to get this up and running”  – Michelle LeBlanc, Buchanan Memorial Hospital Dietician (July 27, 2016)
  • Job well done (HERSS VC) with your great leadership” – Debbie Madore, Nutrition for Learning Dietitian, CBVRSB (July 28, 2016)
  • Glad to hear it (HERSS VC) went well. Great work!” – Eileen Woodford, Chair – Naturally Active for Life Victoria County Partnership (July 27, 2016)

About Naturally Active for Life Victoria County (Est. 2011)

Physical Activity Strategy Coordinator for the Municipality of the County of Victoria
This entry was posted in b-Active, baddeck, Baddeck Academy, Be Active, Bring Back Winter Play, Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Connect, Cape Breton Island, Cape Breton Regional Library, CBVRSB, Development of Strategy, Events, Fitness, Grants and Funding, healthy eating, Implementation of Strategy, Ingonish, Initiative, Leadership, Luncheon, Naturally Active Victoria County, physical activity, Programs, resources, Thrive!, Uncategorized, Victoria County, workplace wellness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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