Healthy Communities Focus Areas

Alcohol Consumption

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Alcohol use in Nova Scotia is a complicated issue. While alcohol is often used in celebrations and social settings, the misuse of alcohol can result in a widespread and chronic burden on our health, communities and economy.

Communities around the globe are facing these challenges. Some of them are addressing this issue head-on through local level policy change.

In Nova Scotia, work is underway to better understand and address alcohol use in our communities.

Changing-the-Culture Student-Drug-Use-Survey
Changing the Culture of Alcohol Use in Nova Scotia Nova Scotia Student Drug Use Survey
Child-and-Youth-Drinking In-Our-Words
Child and You Drinking:
The Context of Alcohol Use Among Adolescents in Nova Scotia
Municipal Alcohol Project
Alcohol-Policy-Development Municipal-Alcohol-Policies
Supporting Alcohol Policy Development at the Municipal Level Municipal Alcohol Policies:
Options for Nova Scotia Municipalities

Healthy Eating

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Healthy eating is a key focus for Public Health. We work with partners in the community to have an impact on the health of the population as a whole, while aiming to reduce health inequities among Nova Scotians.

Recognizing the importance of healthy eating, Nova Scotia uses Thrive! A plan for a healthier Nova Scotia, and Nova Scotia's Healthy Eating Strategy to focus our work.

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Thrive! A plan for a healthier Nova Scotia Healthy Eating Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia's Healthy Eating Strategy priorities 4 areas of focus related to Healthy Eating.

  1. Breastfeeding

    Breastfeeding is recommended until your baby is 2 years or even older. Among other advantages of breastfeeding, it plays an important role in preventing obesity and other chronic diseases later in life. Breastfeeding is also good for mother's health as it plays a role in the prevention of breast, ovarian, and cervical cancer, along with osteoporosis. Many hospitals and community health centers in Nova Scotia are adopting best practices to promote breastfeeding. This work is known as The Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI).

    Nova Scotia's Learning Makes it Natural campaign aims to educate and support parent's about breastfeeding.

    Breastfeeding: Learning Makes it Natural

  2. Children and Youth

    Nova Scotia has made Healthy Eating among children and youth a priority through the implementation of the Standards for Food and Nutrition in Regulated Child-Care Centres and the Food and Nutrition Policy for Nova Scotia Schools and participation in the Provincial Breakfast Program.

     Child-Care-Settings-Manual School-Food-Nutrition-Policy  Breakfast-Program 
    Food and Nutrition in
    Regulated Child Care Settings
     Food and Nutrition Policy
    for Nova Scotia Public Schools
    Provincial Breakfast Program
  3. Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

    Nova Scotians are not eating enough fruit and vegetables! According to the latest Statistics Canada figures, 79% of children and 67% of adults in Atlantic Canada ate fewer than five daily servings of vegetables and fruit. Nova Scotia uses the Goodness in Many Ways campaign to encourage Nova Scotians to eat more fruits and vegetables. Strive for Five in Schools is another initiative aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among children and youth.

     Goodness-in-Many-Ways  Strive-for-Five
    Goodness in Many Ways  Strive for Five at School!
  4. Food Insecurity

    Food insecurity is defined as the inability to "obtain sufficient, nutritious, personally acceptable food through normal food channels, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so". Food Insecurity in Nova Scotia is discussed in Can Nova Scotians Afford to Eat Healthy?.

Injury Prevention

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Taking It to the Next Level, Nova Scotia's Renewed Injury Prevention Strategy (shown left) describes our injury prevention efforts.  Public Health works with partners such as South Shore Safe Communities, South Shore Housing Action Coalition and Health Promoting Schools to reduce injuries in our communities.

Physical Activity

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Public Health works with a variety of partners to increase opportunities for people in our communities to be physically active. We are involved with initiatives at the municipal level related to Active Transportation Planning, and in school travel planning with Health Promoting Schools. We are a part of South Shore Active Communities, which seeks to increase activity after-school and in the workplace.


Nova Scotia's Thrive: A plan for a healthier Nova Scotia focuses on physical activity and healthy eating as opportunities for reducing obesity.

Sexual Health

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Public health works with a variety of partners and youth to influence the development and implementation of healthy public policies to improve the sexual health of populations. Public Health supports community actions that create the environmental conditions to support and promote healthy sexuality. This is accomplished through Health Promoting Schools, healthy child development, immunization and communicable disease programs and reduction of alcohol harms that impact the sexual health of our populations.

For more information on this core area of focus please click here.

Lunenburg County has a Sexual Health Centre. Click here to view the website


Moving-Towards-a-Tobacco-Free-NSTobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death, disease and disability in Nova Scotia. Public Health works with a variety of partners to influence healthy public policies as reflected in Moving Toward a Tobacco-Free Nova Scotia: Comprehensive Tobacco Control Strategy for Nova Scotia.

If you are looking for support to stop smoking, South Shore Health's Mental Health and Addictions Services can help. You can find more information by clicking here.

For more information about Tobacco Control in Nova Scotia please click visit the Department of Health Wellness' website.

Public Health Staff from SWH, AVH, and SSH have developed a free, online tutorial about supporting women to stop smoking during pregnancy.  It is available here.

SSH is a member of Smoke Free Nova Scotia, a provincial coalition committed to the achievement of a tobacco-free Nova Scotia.  Currently, Smoke Free Nova Scotia is promoting Smoke Free Housing in Nova Scotia by encouraging landlords and condominmum corporations to register their buildings as smoke. provides information and support to tenants, landlords and condominiums about the advantages of smoke-free housing.  Landlords and Condominium Corporations may also register their properties as smoke-free on the site.




Housing or shelter is one of our most basic needs. While there is a complex relationship between housing and health, poor housing is often associated with poor health. In other words, housing is an important determinant of health.

Adequate housing means safe, secure and affordable shelter. Housing also provides the place where we connect with the wider community through education, employment and community networks.

Public Health works in our communities to increase understanding around housing as a health issue, and to work with community partners to develop strategies and policies to address the issue.

One of our partners locally is the South Shore Housing Action Coalition (SSHAC). Click here to learn more about SSHAC, or visit them on Facebook.

Health Promoting Schools

Health Promoting Schools provides an overall framework for key school health initiatives. These initiatives include: healthy eating, physical activity, youth sexual health, tobacco reduction, addiction, positive school climate, health inequities, access to health services and injury prevention in the school setting, among others. Public Health partners with our school board and others to work together around these issues to improve health and learning outcomes for children in our area.

To learn more about Health Promoting Schools please click here.