Eat Smart!® Recreation Centre Program

Organization Sponsor: Nutrition Resource Centre

Organization Partner: Canadian Cancer Society


Program Description

The overall goal of the Eat Smart! program is to contribute to the reduction of chronic diseases and food-borne illness in Ontario.
When it comes to recreation centres, finding healthier food choices can be a challenge.

The Eat Smart!® Recreation Centre Program supports healthy environments by qualifying recreation centres on a set of three (3) standards:

1) Nutrition - the facility must offer healthier food choices in the snack bar and vending machines, and packaged products are evaluated using the Eat Smart!® Choices Calculator to determine whether or not they meet the Eat Smart!® nutrition criteria;
2) Food Safety - the facility’s snack bar must have an excellent track record in food safety based on requirements in the Ontario Food Premises Regulation and at least one employee certified in safe food handling; and
3) 100% smoke-free environment – the facility must be in compliance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (2005) and not sell tobacco products or accessories.

Program Approximate Cost: 

$30,000 (provincial level support only)

Funding Sources: 

Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport

Strategies For Sustainability: 

Provincial level coordination and supports (e.g., for development and maintenance of program materials, website, on-line toolkit) for program implementation are provided at no cost so that health units can implement the program cost effectively. The program is evidence-based and provides a mechanism for health units to achieve the requirement to create healthier environments in recreation settings.

Impact Of Program: 

The program has was launched in spring 2010. There are no data on program impact or outcomes available.

Evaluation Tools: 

An evaluation of the pilot program was conducted in 2008 but it focused on process as opposed to impact or outcomes. NRC conducts annual collection of data from health units on the implementation of the Eat Smart! program. The first report on the implementation of the Eat Smart! Recreation Centre Program will be available in fall 2011.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

The Eat Smart! program currently operates in schools, workplaces and recreation centres. Orientation and training for implementing all components of the Eat Smart! program are provided to public health unit personnel by the Nutrition Resource Centre.

Challenges To Meet Them: 

This program can only be implemented by public health units in Ontario.

Length and Stage of Project: 

The Eat Smart! Recreation Centre Program was launched in spring 2010 and is ongoing.

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