Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Stephen McNeil gets a failing grade for his response to Nova Scotia’s poor health report card

2 Comments

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Provincial Health Report Card from the Conference Board of Canada

I was driving home from work a couple of weeks ago, listening to the CBC (as per usual), when a segment came on about the recently released provincial health report cards. Nova Scotia did not fare well. We received an overall “D” grade, brought down by our “D” grade for cancer mortality. We also scored poorly on ratings for infant mortality, mortality due to respiratory diseases, and overall life expectancy. Our Premier, Stephen McNeil, made a statement to the effect that while the government does play some role in the health of Nova Scotians, we need to take more ownership of our heath. He said that we should eat better, exercise more, and drink less alcohol. WHAT?! 

I suppose I shouldn’t be all that surprised after the ill-informed op-ed piece by our Minister of Health last year. Really, though, has our Premier never heard of the social determinants of health? How is it possible for someone in such an important governmental role not realise the impact of government on the health of citizens? It’s hard for people to be healthy in our society. In a province where working longer hours is expected, where unhealthy processed foods are more widely available and affordable than nutritious foods, where the weather and poorly cleared sidewalks make even going for a walk difficult, where urban sprawl limits active transportation, where doctors are in short supply and wait times for specialists are outrageous, where many health care plans don’t cover dietitian’s services, where the government profits from the sale of alcohol, where jobs are scare and pay dismally, and so on, the onus should not be placed on the individual to improve population health. It’s the government’s job to make healthier choices more accessible for citizens and to provide us with the services and opportunities we need to be healthy. It’s embarrassing that our Premier would place the blame for our collective poor health on citizens of Nova Scotia when the environment we live in so clearly sets us up for illness.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

2 thoughts on “Stephen McNeil gets a failing grade for his response to Nova Scotia’s poor health report card

  1. Well, at least McNeil did go so far as to suggest, as did a former Liberal premier, that he would deal with the “poor” diet of one segment of the population by requiring people on welfare to take courses on how to prepare healthy meals.

    Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:02:48 +0000 To: dfchard@hotmail.com

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  2. Pingback: In Other’s Words #7 | xoPrincessTina

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