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LETTER: Park revitalization a boost to health

Congratulations to the Town of Trenton on taking important steps to invest in the health of its citizens.

Earlier this month the Town of Trenton announced a significant investment in revitalizing Trenton Park, an important step to create conditions for citizens to maintain and improve their health through access to outdoor spaces.

Research has shown individuals and families who live with a lower income have poorer health and lower rates of physical activity compared to those with more access to personal and social resources. To address these health issues, we need to focus on creating environments that will enable all citizens and communities to access the resources needed to improve their health. This initiative is a perfect example of the vital role municipal governments play in reducing barriers to physical activity, enhancing community connectedness and improving health.

A number of studies support a strong relationship between exposure to nature and positive mental health. Both physical activity and nature have tremendous benefits in decreasing stress and improving concentration and cognitive functioning. Youth that have access to natural open spaces are also more likely to be physically active. Even short 10-minute walks, especially in view of green spaces, can have positive restorative effects on people. The natural beauty of Trenton Park is a perfect place for residents of Pictou County and beyond to maximize these benefits.

Healthy public policies, like the investment in Trenton Park, make healthy choices possible and easier for community members. This is not the first time the Town of Trenton has developed a healthy public policy. Smoke-free places, municipal alcohol policies and support for the Pictou County Wellness Centre reflect your town’s commitment to creating healthy environments and improving your communities’ health.

Thank you for your leadership and congratulations again on this important decision.

Dr. Ryan Sommers, MD CCFP FRCPC

Medical Officer of Health, Northern Zone, Nova Scotia Health Authority and Family Physician

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