February 7, 2011 - The Minister of Health and Social Services, Sandy Lee, informed Members of the benefits of "dropping the pop," during Session today.
Mr. Speaker, this Assembly has made it a priority to focus on prevention by promoting healthy choices and lifestyles and the role of personal and family responsibility. One of the ways that the Government of the Northwest Territories supports this is through the delivery of programs like “Drop the Pop.” This year the “Drop the Pop” campaign takes place from January 17, 2011 to February 28, 2011. Since 2006, “Drop the Pop” has encouraged students across the three Territories to make healthier choices.
This year the campaign is more important than ever, as childhood obesity continues to be a serious issue across Canada and is considered an international epidemic. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s report, “Overview: Curbing Childhood Obesity A Federal, Provincial and Territorial Framework for Action to Promote Healthy Weights”, more than one-in-four children and youth in Canada are overweight or obese.
Mr. Speaker, a child’s risk for obesity increases with every additional daily serving of soda. “Drop the Pop”, now in its sixth year, raises awareness of the negative impacts of sugary beverages and encourages children to make healthier beverage choices. One of the ways to reverse the trend towards obesity is by reducing the amount of sugary beverages that children drink.
Last year, 43 of the 51 schools in the Northwest Territories participated in the challenge. This is more than a 300% increase from its inception in 2006. I would like to see all schools participate in this year’s challenge. Along with the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, we encourage all schools to visit www.dropthepopnwt.ca website and register for this year’s campaign.
This year’s theme is ‘Take the Lead’. This was recommended by school staff and students. To be successful, dropping the pop needs to involve everyone – students, teachers, parents, elders, stores, and the community. This is why I am strongly encouraging everyone to take on a leadership and championship role when it comes to healthy eating and beverage consumption. Together we will make a difference! Certainly the Legislative Assembly, by ‘dropping the pop’ has taken a leadership role in this regard.
Health and Social Services is pleased to continue working with our partners, Education, Culture and Employment (ECE), communities, parents, as well as food and other retail stores across the NWT to provide support and education about drinking too many sugar sweetened beverages. Without their support, this campaign would not be as successful as it is.
Mr. Speaker, “Drop the Pop” and the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs’ “Get Active” campaign are important initiatives that raise awareness of obesity and engage our children and families in a fun manner and that create supportive environments for change. These initiatives help maintain a very important goal in the “Foundation for Change” Action Plan – to ensure health promotion is delivered effectively across the NWT through resources that help Northerners make healthy choices.
The Department of Health and Social Services will continue to raise awareness about the negative effects of drinking sugary beverages through our “Drop the Pop” campaign and will have an added school lesson-plan based program that is being piloted this spring called ‘Sip Smart NWT’.
To my colleagues and our residents, I encourage everyone to think about what can be done to change the trends towards obesity at home, school, and in your community. Be a role model and join us in promoting healthy lifestyles by “dropping the pop”.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
For more information, contact:
Office of the Premier/Cabinet
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: (867) 669-2302