Nova Scotia children will be happier, healthier, more confident and less stressed thanks to the launch of a physical activity strategy released today, Dec. 12. The renewed strategy, titled Active Kids Healthy Kids, will expand on existing initiatives and incorporate new programs and action plans. It will help children and youth become more active by increasing and improving opportunities for physical activity, sport and recreation activities. “Taking care of our children includes providing them with healthy choices as they grow from childhood to adolescence to adulthood,” said Barry Barnet, Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. “This strategy will provide the opportunities and support that Nova Scotia families need to embrace and promote physical activity.” The strategy used input from the first (2001) and second (2005) reports of the Physical Activity Levels and Dietary Intake of Children and Youth in the Province of Nova Scotia study. “The results of this study show us that the majority of younger children (Grade 3) are meeting the standard of 60 minutes per day of physical activity,” said Angie Thompson, researcher and associate professor at St. Francis Xavier University. “This percentage does decline dramatically when we look at youth in grades 7 and 11.” “However, the data shows us that the Grade 7 youth, in particular, are very close to meeting the standard activity levels and this strategy will serve as a guiding force towards our goal.” Schools will continue to play a role in improving the health of children and youth through the Health Promoting Schools program, which provides the framework for key school health components including, but not limited to, physical education, healthy foods in schools and health education. “Our goal is to help ensure students become better, more engaged learners at school and healthier Nova Scotians in life,” said Education Minister Karen Casey. The strategy was developed through consultation with a number of government departments and non-government organizations as well as various community leaders across the province. The full strategy and background documents can be found at www.gov.ns.ca/hpp .