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The OPHA Calls for a New Prescription for Better Health

Healthy Living - Heart Shaped Fruit Bowl
Healthy Living - Heart Shaped Fruit Bowl

As we live through an invisible threat, what can we control to improve our health?

At the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA), we believe everyone should have the opportunity to make choices that allow each of us, regardless of our circumstances, to live a healthy life. 

As we live through an invisible threat, what can we control to improve our health? While we have been hand-washing, wearing masks, keeping physically distanced, and getting vaccinated, our other health routines and habits may have been put on the backburner. There’s new scientific evidence showing us that there are ways that we can have more control over our own health and steps we can take with others to make our communities healthier, too.   

The healing power of nature 

Did you know that being in nature for at least two hours each week has been found to significantly better one’s health? Experts say that spending time in green space can actually decrease one’s stress hormone levels and risk of chronic diseases. 

Steps to health

There’s a growing body of evidence that shows that daily physical activity (including walking) increases the production of our mood-enhancing neurotransmitters and reduces the level of the body’s stress hormones.  

Food and mood 

New research is showing that what we eat affects how we feel and that a healthy diet can help to improve mood disorders like depression and anxiety. This new area of study, coined nutritional psychiatry, is finding that the interconnectedness of nutrition and mental health is as important as the connection between nutrition and heart health. 

Staying connected  

Having strong connections with others contributes to our social, emotional, and physical well-being, as connections can strengthen our immune system and self-esteem while lowering levels of anxiety and depression.  

OPHA is calling on local, provincial and national governments to make policies that support our health and that of our communities by creating more green spaces, making our communities more walkable, increasing access to affordable, healthy foods, and sustainable employment opportunities.

Reliable sources  

Experts say that we’re experiencing an infodemic — an overload of both accurate and false information. Organizations like your local, provincial, or national public health agencies serve as credible and timely sources for tips on healthy living.

While each of us can make choices about our health, where we live, work, study, and play affect us, too. That’s why the OPHA is calling for action. Let’s work together by asking governments at all levels to consider a new prescription for health — making it easier to spend time in nature, be physically active, eat well and connect with others – giving us and our communities more control over the choices that impact health.

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