ST. JOHN'S -- Parents try hard every day to help their children make good choices, including the food they eat. In fact, ensuring a healthy diet is the most important thing parents can do to ensure the future health of their kids, and families deserve to have access to the best possible information to help them make these decisions.
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"Marketing to kids is so pervasive today, and it is becoming more and more difficult for parents to control their children's exposure to these unhealthy messages. We are committed to making healthy choices easier for parents and their children, by restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods and also providing guidance to parents that is more useful and user-friendly," siad Jane Philpott Minister of Health.
Nine out of 10 Canadian teens are not eating enough vegetables and fruits; one in three teens will eat at a fast food restaurant today.
Joël Lightbound, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced that Health Canada is launching a public consultation on restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children. The proposed approach aims to protect children from marketing tactics that encourage them to eat unhealthy foods, and support families in making healthier food choices.
In addition, Health Canada is launching a public consultation on the revision of Canada's Food Guide, which will be used to develop new consumer messages, tools and resources. This follows broad consultation on the Food Guide in 2016, which resulted in nearly 20,000 submissions during the first consultation in fall 2016 on the revision of Canada's Food Guide, and are summarized in a What We Heard Report.
The announcement was made at the Dietitians of Canada national conference in St. John's, Newfoundland. Both consultations run from June 10 to July 25, 2017.
One in five adults lives with one of the following major chronic diseases: cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease or diabetes. Diet is the number one risk factor for chronic disease and obesity, and dietary patterns are set early in life.
"Dietitians empower their patients, clients and communities to embrace food and its connection to health. Restrictions on marketing of food and beverages to children and an update to dietary guidance in Canada, based on the most recent nutrition evidence, will help to create a healthier food environment for Canadians. Dietitians support actions to make the healthy choice the easier choice," said Marsha Sharp, CEO, Dietitians of Canada.
These initiatives are part of the Government's Healthy Eating Strategy. In addition, the Healthy Eating Strategy outlines how Health Canada will achieve the Government's commitments on sodium, trans fats, sugars and food colours.
"Heart & Stroke is committed to giving kids the best start for a long and healthy life. One of the most effective ways to protect them, and support parents to make healthy choices, is to restrict food and beverage marketing to our children and youth. The Food Guide is an important resource and updating it and making it more digestible will also have a real impact on improving the health of all Canadians," Yves Savoie, CEO, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada.
When watching television, children view on average four to five food and beverage ads per hour, with the majority of advertised products (65-80%) not in line with current Canadian dietary guidance.
The Healthy Eating Strategy is a component of the Vision for a Healthy Canada, which focuses on healthy eating, healthy living and a healthy mind. It is complementary to A Food Policy for Canada, which, as one of its four themes, seeks to increase Canadians' ability to make healthy and safe food choices.
SOURCE Health Canada
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