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N.L. youth providing viewpoints on healthy eating

A provincial organization that promotes healthy eating to children and youth is looking to young people in the province for insight and advice about the barriers they face to eating nutritiously.

Heather Blackmore, a member of the provincial Healthy Eating Advisory Council, offers healthy snacks while promoting healthy eating choices at King’s Academy in Harbour Breton.

Eat Great and Participate coordinates and hosts the Healthy Eating Advisory Council, which kicked off in March with an online orientation session.

The council currently has 10 members between the ages of 16 and 21 from all around the province.

Stephanie O’Brien, a registered dietitian and the Eat Great and participate coordinator, said the group offers an opportunity to engage youth directly in program planning.

“Their perspective on the many factors and challenges that impact their food and beverage choices is invaluable to making sure we meet their needs,” she said in a news release Monday.

“We want to find approaches that will make eating healthy the easy choice for youth and their input through this council will ensure we’re able to do that.”

The council will help the province achieve its targets to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and increase healthy living and physical activity among residents.

Council members have already begun advocating for healthy eating in their areas by hosting events during Nutrition Month in March, including Heather Blackmore at King’s Academy in Harbour Breton and Racheal Powell and her fellow cheerleaders at Villanova Junior High in C.B.S.

Other members of the council are Brooke Blanchard of King’s Point, Laura Collis of St. John’s, Sami Fisher of Gander, Shealah Hart of Northern Arm, Amie Jones of Forteau, Sarah Knight of Blaketown, Emily O’Brien of Bonavista, and Radhika Verma of Stephenville.

“We were amazed by both the number and quality of applications we received from youth interested in joining the council and we’re delighted that they are jumping on board with so much enthusiasm,” O’Brien added.

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