Preventable chronic diseases also threaten the sustainability of our health care system. For example, in 2009 the estimated direct and indirect costs associated with obesity cost Ontario $4.5 billion. Since poor diets are a major contributing factor to the problem, creating healthier food environments, and teaching children about better food options, are ways for local governments and school boards to promote healthy eating with little investment.
Educational institutions are well-positioned in our communities to positively impact the health of our children. Many have land for gardens and kitchen facilities that can be used for preparing food. Schools have an ability to innovate and excel at involving parents and the broader community in activities. Children also spend a significant amount of time at school, which creates ample opportunity to impact student food literacy and skills to improve unhealthy eating trends.