I have no idea who holds the title right now, but they had better watch their extremely fit backs…because Ontario is about to take the world by storm and become the world’s healthiest people.
Ontario’s public health community recently released Make No Little Plans, the first-ever comprehensive strategic plan for the public health sector. The plan outlines the sector’s five shared strategic goals and eight collective areas of focus for the next three to five years.
Make No Little Plans is a roadmap that will help Ontarians become the healthiest people in the world, calling for strong partnerships across all sectors to work towards:
- Giving children the best start in life
- Improving the prevention and control of infectious diseases through immunization
- Getting more Ontarians to exercise more, eat better, not smoke and drink less alcohol
- Influencing municipal planning and policy to reinforce the strong link between community planning and health outcomes
- Strengthening the public health sector’s capacity, infrastructure and emergency preparedness
Sounds great…doesn’t it?
Especially when we consider that 60 % of all Ontario deaths in 2007 were attributable to five factors…
- unhealthy alcohol consumption,
- poor diet,
- physical inactivity
- and high stress
…and that Ontarians with all five of these risk factors are losing on average…almost 20 years of life.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, all of this unhealthiness has created an economic problem – 25% of all publicly funded health care costs are due to preventable illnesses – diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc) – with that that number growing year after year after year.
And since no one wants to keep paying higher and higher taxes, the government is getting serious with their No Little Plan plan.
Fingers crossed that the plan works…because I am sick and tired of seeing my countrymen looking more like the uber-pudgy BEFORE picture than the super-studly AFTER picture.
I am also sick of seeing my taxes go up and up and up…but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
So…what happens now?
To be honest, I have no idea. The No Little Plan calls for all sorts of sectors to be involved:
- the Provincial Government
- the Chief Medical Officer of Health
- Public Health Ontario
- Municipal Public Health Agencies
- and a whole bunch of other groups outlined in this snazzy venn diagram.
Does anyone see a potential problem?
I do….Nowhere amongst all these very smart and dedicated people do I see any mention of the PUBLIC.
I see no mention of parents groups or community associations or social activists or any other the other grassroots organizations that can turn a bunch of strangers into a tight-knit and vibrant community.
For example, I know a LOT of fitness professionals in Toronto who would be willing to donate their time & expertise to help make their city a fitter, healthier place. I also know members of my neighborhood residents’ association who would gladly donate their time and expertise to help create healthier, fitter neighborhoods across the city.
But no one is speaking to them. And that’s a shame.
Because in a world where social media gives power to the individual, governments really need to start moving away from their top-down approach to policy and start incorporating input from (and ceding power to) the grassroots.
– End of rant –
Seriously, I am excited that my provincial government is taking steps to help improve the health of it’s citizenry. It’s a truly noble and truly big plan. Something we could all be proud of.
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.”
Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect. (1846-1912)