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Canada B.C. health, education ministries not working together on school programs: Auditor-General

An audit of healthy eating and physical activity programs in British Columbia’s schools makes eight recommendations aimed at improving co-ordination by the ministries responsible.

The independent review by Auditor General Carol Bellringer says the Ministries of Health and Education created the programs to improve the eating habits and activity levels of youth.

But Bellringer says the ministries must do more to work together and with other partners.

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Bellringer’s report says the ministries didn’t adequately informed B.C.’s health authorities and school districts about strategies, such as the School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program, or funding available for student meals.

The report says the lack of communication means many districts haven’t prioritized the initiatives, potentially affecting the health of students and increasing their risk for future chronic diseases.

Recommendations to improve ministry management of the programs include increasing access for vulnerable students, monitoring for effectiveness and ensuring the programs and policies can be easily implemented.

Bellringer believes the programs should be highlighted because they are aimed at children and offer a great opportunity to shape the future health of B.C. residents.

“Schools are an ideal setting, because they can reach almost every child in B.C. and, by extension, their families,” Bellringer says in the release.

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