Healthy Kimberley Project

A community effort to live a healthier life through A GP For Me

The Healthy Kimberley Project will follow the 5-2-1-0 guidelines.

The Healthy Kimberley Project will follow the 5-2-1-0 guidelines.

A more popular trend in health care over the past few years has been the concept of wellness. The healthier the citizens in a community, the less demand there will be on primary health care.

As part of the A GP For Me initiative, the Kimberley family physicians through the East Kootenay Division of Family Practice are working with key community stakeholders to lead a Healthy Kimberley Project, which focuses on promoting the health and wellness of residents in our community.

Other communities in the East Kootenay are focusing on different areas, such as physician retention. Cranbrook, Creston and Elkford are focusing on team-based care including social workers and life skill workers, says Erna Jensen, who is leading the Healthy Kimberley program.

“In Kimberley, the doctors’ focus is on getting people healthy and health promotion,” she said.

Community and physician consultations have been held, and a health and wellness networking event for Kimberley professionals and practitioners was a great success in February.

‘“The health and wellness networking in February had 120 folks on the list, who practice health and wellness ­ from yoga to nutrition to chiropractors to naturopaths. That’s big for a community this size.”

Last week, a meeting with community stakeholders was held in Kimberley.

“We had a good turnout,” Jensen said. “We had business people, non-profits, people from the food bank. People are keen to get started.”

What they are starting is the Healthy Kimberley Project.

“The next component of this project will be a combination of community action/public events designed to help make the ‘healthy choice the easy choice’ for Kimberley residents,”Jensen said. “We have chosen to work with SCOPE BC and their evidence based model, Live 5-2-1-0 , which includes materials to communicate simple, evidence based  health messages and work to encourage engagement and participation. We are pleased to join other BC communities that are using this approach to build healthier populations, including Abbotsford and Chilliwack.  We are also excited to have the support of Columbia Basin Trust to translate our energy and ideas into action and implementation throughout the community.”

The Live 5-2-1-0 concept is simple

Five – eat five or more vegetables and fruits every day

Two – no more than two hours of screen time a day. That includes TV, video games and computer time.

One – play actively at least one hour a day and;

Zero – no sugar sweetened drinks. Get your calories from healthy foods and hydrate with water.

“We will be launching this over the next year,” Jensen said. “Our goal is to work with community partners to get the message out. A lot of ideas have come out and last week at our session people voted on what they liked and where they  wanted to put their time and effort. It takes a community to make it happen.”

A community launch is planned for the end of May.

Ideas include:

Community Health fair in conjunction with community launch/at schools

Family Gym – Game/sports activity nights

Community gardening

Walking school buses – other ways to encourage active transportation

Exercise classes/challenges for all ages/fitness levels – families/classes

Block /neighbourhood parties with physical activity /healthy food themes (ie. games in a park + fruit/veggie themed snacks/food

Youth engagement, mobile reminders, other social media

Work with first Saturdays – add in community walk/runs as part of these?

Healthy family classes (nutrition, cooking, shopping for food, physical activities)

“Healthy Kimberley will include activities that broadly target the Kimberley community, as well as activities that specifically target children and youth (especially low-income or otherwise vulnerable) and seniors (especially low-income and/or isolated seniors),” Jensen said. “Healthy Kimberley will work to build awareness of the existing assets/resources in the community, enhance collaboration and assist in breaking down barriers to participation.”

Anyone who would like to add some input or learn more about the Healthy Kimberley Project can contact Jensen at erna.agpforme@gmail.com

“We are excited to engage the community,” she said.