Jamie Oliver along with the Honourable Senator Nancy Greene Raine and members of the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition held a panel discussion at the Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto on October 6th raising awareness for the urgent need for a comprehensive Canadian childhood obesity strategy that protects kids by making it easier everywhere kids live, learn and play to make healthy food and beverage choices.
Afterwards, we held a Facebook live event with our Toronto Food Revolution team threading in discussions with folks from around the world.
We have a moral responsibility to protect kids from harm. When it comes to childhood nutrition, I’ll borrow the title from the Ontario Ministry of Health’s, Healthy Kids Panel Report, “There is no time to wait!”
Some may see that as alarmist and quite honestly I hope so. Sound every alarm bell!
We need bold actions now or as the Healthy Kids Panel report identifies, if we choose to do nothing to change this trajectory by 2040, 70% of todays kids will be overweight or obese adults. Our health care system cannot sustain that. Either we take some aggressive action now or face tougher decisions and questions down the road including answering to why didn’t you do enough? As a health professional and mom I feel this personal burden and have had to ask myself what more can I do?
Parents do have a responsibility but alone they can’t change this trajectory. The cards are stacked against them in this obesogenic environment.
No one program or policy will fix things but the ban on food and beverage marketing is one important part of the solution. According to the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition:
- A Canadian study showed that 83% of food/beverage companies’ websites targeted children under 12.
- Those under eight do not understand the intent of marketing messages and believe what they see.
- As much as 90% of food and beverages marketed on TV are high in salt, fat, sugar or calories.
Research has shown that food and beverage marketing has an impact on:
- Their food preferences and beliefs.
- Rising rates of childhood obesity.
- Increased risk factors for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Take Action Now
Kindly support the bill put forward by the Honorable Senator Nancy Greene Raine. I had the chance to personally thank her for her dedication to this important issue. The Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition makes it easy for you to send a post card to your local Member of Parliament to let them know you support this ban on advertising food and beverages to kids.
So how have I decided to do more? I’m joining and stepping up efforts to make at least one mandatory Food and Nutrition course for High School students in Ontario. Stay tuned!