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Learn More About ESPC In The News, News Releases, And General News About The Organization.
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  • A Profile of Poverty in Edmonton - May 2019 Update

    A Profile of Poverty in Edmonton - May 2019 Update

    Read the full report (click on the link):A Profile of Poverty in Edmonton - May 2019 Update Click to download: 2016 Federal Census Neighbourhood Summary Click to download: Map: Prevalence of Low Income After-Tax (All Ages) Click to download: Map: Prevalence of Low Income After-Tax (0 to 17) INTRODUCTION Poverty affects people from all walks of life – young, old, employed, unemployed, those Read More
  • 2019 Vital Topics - Indigenous Women in Alberta

    2019 Vital Topics - Indigenous Women in Alberta

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton.  This edition focuses on Indigenous Women in Alberta.   Download: Vital Topic - Indigenous Women in Read More
  • 2018 Vital Topics - The Arts

    2018 Vital Topics - The Arts

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton.  This edition focuses on The Arts. ARTS include a wide variety of creative disciplines including: Read More
  • 2018 Vital Topics - Senior Women in Edmonton

    2018 Vital Topics - Senior Women in Edmonton

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton. Watch for these in each issue of Legacy in Action, and in the full issue Read More
  • Edmonton Vital Signs 2018

    Edmonton Vital Signs 2018

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, Vital Topics, that are timely and important to Edmonton - specifically Women, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Edmonton, Visible Minority Women, and Senior Women. Each of these topics appear in Read More
  • CBC News - Living wage in Edmonton is going up but that isn't good

    CBC News - Living wage in Edmonton is going up but that isn't good

    Radio Active with Adrienne Pan Interview with Sandra Ngo, Edmonton Social Planning Council. Click here to listen to the interview   Read More
  • Media Release: Edmonton Living Wage 2018 Update

    Media Release: Edmonton Living Wage 2018 Update

    June 21, 2018 For Immediate Release Edmonton Living Wage 2018 Update Contending with Costs For the first time in 2 years, the living wage for Edmonton has risen. For 2018, an income earner must make $16.48 per hour to support a family of four, an increase of $0.17 per hour from last year’s living wage. The living wage is intended Read More
  • 2018 Vital Topics - Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

    2018 Vital Topics - Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton. Watch for these in each issue of Legacy in Action, and in the full issue Read More
  • 2018 Vital Topics - Visible Minority Women in Edmonton

    2018 Vital Topics - Visible Minority Women in Edmonton

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton. Watch for these in each issue of Legacy in Action, and in the full issue Read More
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by:  Sheila Pratt

EDMONTON - Edmonton is losing the battle against obesity among teenagers while a whopping two-thirds of families don't eat enough fruits and vegetables, says a report released Tuesday.

The city's rate of overweight and obese youth is rising, as it is across the country, said Dr. Christopher Sikora, Edmonton's chief medical officer of health, on Tuesday.

Though Edmonton incomes are generally higher than in the rest of Canada ($57,200 median income compared with $50,700 nationally), that extra cash is not necessarily being spent by families on healthy food, according to the report Vital Signs, which offers a snapshot of community health and economic indicators. It was released by the Edmonton Social Planning Council and the Edmonton Community Foundation.

Only 36 per cent of Edmontonians managed to eat their five daily servings of fruit and vegetables - less than the national average of 40 per cent, says the report.

Sikora said the rising rate of obese and overweight children means many young people are heading for health problems as adults.

The city needs a strategy that tackles both problems - getting people more active and reducing "over consumption" of unhealthy food, he said.

"People need 30 to 60 minutes of activity, and children even more, and sadly they aren't getting it," he said.

Poor nutrition is also connected to higher rates of diabetes in the Edmonton area - 5.6 per cent compared with the provincial rate of 5.27 per cent, said the report.

Lack of access to enough healthy food (called food insecurity) is a problem among low-income earners, who are often renters and may also have little education. About 35 per cent of single-parent families in Edmonton experienced food insecurity in 2012, the report said.

Coun. Amarjeet Sohi said the city has been trying to build more walkable communities to encourage less reliance on cars and more physical activity, but mostly, it isn't working.

"I’ve noticed there's an issue of major traffic jams at schools even in new communities because everyone drives, even though they could walk," said Sohi, who attended the report's release along with food advocacy groups.

"It's a cultural thing that happens. Maybe people are too busy, or have no time," he said.

The community needs to address an activity gap in a city that relies heavily on organized sports to keep kids active. Middle-class families can afford fees for hockey, soccer and other sports that are out of reach for low-income families.

To combat the growing issue of food insecurity and its related health problems, the Edmonton Community Foundation announced it will award new grants of $100,000 for each of the next three years to community groups that are willing to address these issues.

Meanwhile, a new coalition of health advocates is lobbying on a variety of fronts, including to get junk food out of city recreation centres, to tax sugar-sweetened drinks, to convince school cafeterias to reduce servings of french fries and to restrict advertising of unhealthy sweetened food to children.

"These measures are aimed at prevention" of obesity, which can lead to other chronic diseases, said Kayla Atkey, of the Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention.

Meanwhile, the social planning council's annual report on income, rents and other economic factors reinforced the message that food security is a major issue and is connected to poverty, said researcher John Kolkman.

While Edmonton's economy had a strong recovery from the 2008 crash, and boasts high employment, there are still thousands of people stuck in low-paying jobs, he said.

About 128,900 people earn wages of $15 an hour or less, he said.

On the positive front, Edmonton also recorded a substantial reduction in homelessness (down by 29 per cent from 2008) thanks to a provincially funded 10-year plan to end homelessness, said Kolkman.

"That's a positive indicator, but data on the rental market gives me pause," he said.

The rental market today is already at a very tight 1.2-per-cent vacancy rate - a rate last seen in 2006 at the height of the boom, when rents jumped by 20 per cent, Kolkman said.

That tight rental market could make more people homeless, and will also eat into the incomes of many families, he said.

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Video Feature

Global News - 1 in 6 Alberta children lives below poverty line

Read more about the Edmonton Social Planning Council report on child poverty in Alberta.

Alberta Child Poverty Report - 2018 Click to Download