A growing body of evidence demonstrates a link between health and the environment, according to Dr. David Mowat, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel. Dr. Mowat’s remarks were made at the recent Friends of the Credit Stewardship Forum and Volunteer Appreciation Event hosted by Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) at the University of Toronto, Mississauga.
CVC’s twelfth annual Stewardship Forum was dedicated to the Power of Green: Health, Wellness and Nature. Dr. Mowat, responsible for protecting and promoting the health of more than 1.3 million residents in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga, gave the keynote address.
“Making the environment more supportive and conducive to healthy living can play a role in preventing obesity and other chronic diseases such as diabetes,” said Dr. Mowat. He suggested the way we design our communities has a significant impact on our health.
“Studies have demonstrated a link between obesity and inactivity in diabetes”, added Dr. Mowat. The prevalence of diabetes, largely influenced by increasing rates of obesity, is high and expected to rise in Peel Region.
It is estimated that one in ten adults living in Peel have diabetes. Without intervention, this is projected to rise to an estimated one in six by 2025.
“People who work in community gardens or live close to parks have significantly higher levels of activity and lower levels of obesity,” added Dr. Mowat.
Death rates from heart disease for people who have access to the natural environment are lower. Studies on mental health, depression, anxiety, and self-esteem, show that people with access to the natural environment have more positive outcomes.
“Our health is determined by how we live and where we live,” added Dr. Mowat. “Nature is a pathway to health.”
Dr. Mowat’s talk and all presentations from the forum are available at www.creditvalleyca.ca/stewardshipforum.
Credit Valley Conservation
905-670-1615 ext. 385