Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds Approach in Public Health
Traditional, deficit-based approaches, focusing on individual behaviours to address obesity and weight have been ineffective and may lead to unintended negative consequences. New literature supports the use of a strengths-based approach to promoting health. This approach creates healthy, supportive environments and encourages community action that enables healthy balanced eating, regular physical activity and mental well-being for everyone, regardless of weight, shape or size. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit supports this new way of thinking through their “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds” position statement. This presentation highlights the Health Unit’s journey of embedding a culture of health, wellness and resilience into their organization. The presenters share successes and lessons learned along with resources and tools developed to support the implementation of this approach both internally and externally.
About the presenters:
Dana Hawthorne (Registered Dietitian and Public Health Nutritionist, Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit)started working at the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit two years ago. Her work is primarily with the 0-6 age group, and she actively supports the Child Health, Reproductive Health and Healthy Babies Healthy Children teams. Dana joined the “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds” committee when she started at the health unit and has become an active member. She has helped to create orientation material for new staff, written several advocacy letters promoting “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds” and has helped give workshops to community partners. She looks forward to continuing her active participation with this group. and expanding her role as the incoming committee chair.
Danielle Shewfelt (Public Health Nurse,Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit) has spent the last 19 years working in Public Health. The majority of this time she has spent working in the community on the topics of Physical Activity, Healthy Bodies/Healthy Minds and Healthy Eating with part of her role being the Physical Activity Lead at her Health Unit. She helped developed the Tool for Teachers resource back in 2008 which helped launch the Healthy Bodies/ Healthy Minds approach and the many resources and initiatives that have been implemented/developed. Some of these resources have been adapted by other health units and agencies since then. She has worked closely with her dietitian colleagues throughout this journey, sharing her physical activity, body image and mental wellbeing expertise.