Twelve schools in the Annapolis Valley are making healthy choicesthe easy choices. Health Promotion Minister Rodney MacDonaldpresented the Annapolis Valley Health Promoting Schools Projectwith $100,000 today, Nov. 18, as he joined students for lunch atSomerset and District Elementary School in Berwick, Kings Co. The Annapolis Valley Health Promoting Schools projectincorporates both healthy foods and drinks and physical activityinto the school day. “Promoting healthy eating and physical activity among ourchildren is a priority for the Office of Health Promotion becauseit’s a priority for Nova Scotians,” said Mr. MacDonald, alsospeaking as acting Minister of Education. “We want all childrento have healthy options at school and a key part of making thathappen is to look at the good things that are already happeningand to learn from what works.” In August 2004, the province released a report titled Food andNutrition in Nova Scotia Schools, which was based on interviewswith school board program directors and principals fromelementary, junior and senior high schools. The report outlinedtheir current situations, issues and potential opportunities forimprovement related to food choices in schools. The province is using that information, along with the experiencefrom the Annapolis Valley Health Promoting Schools Project, todevelop a new provincial policy to support accessible andaffordable healthy food choices in schools. The committee, whichalso includes school boards representatives, principals and othereducation partners, will consider all aspects of food in schools,including food and beverage service, breakfast programs andvending machines. “Our goal is to help children make healthy choices aboutnutrition and physical activity everyday. This will reduce theirrisk of developing chronic disease and give them the skills todevelop healthy habits for life,” said Tricia Cochrane, vicepresident of Community Health for the Annapolis Valley HealthAuthority, a key partner in the project. The Annapolis Valley Health Promoting Schools project has been asuccess thanks to the commitment of parents, teachers andstudents, and the encouragement of the school board. This funding will allow the project to continue and expand by: subsidizing the cost of raw fruit and vegetables; allowing students to taste test new menu options; training student physical activity leaders to organize activities for other students at lunchtime; and running non-competitive physical activity programs after school.