Study to look at impact of Covid-19 on nutrition in Atlantic Canada

The Chronicle Herald
The study is being led by Catherine Mah of the Dalhousie University school of health administration, the Canada Research Chair in healthy population. “I think the most important thing that we’re approaching in this research is that nutrition is already a concern in the Atlantic provinces. (They) have one of the highest levels of diet-related risk in Canada,” Mah said. She said poor diet and nutrition have short- and long-term effects on health, and by looking in-depth at nutrition researchers hope to be able to see how social policy can be tweaked or altered to reduce the risks for Atlantic Canadians. Read the article

Consumption of ultra-processed foods in Canada

Statistics Canada 
A new Statistics Canada study found that the overall dietary share of ultra-processed foods remains high among Canadians, accounting for more than half of the daily energy intake among children and teenagers in 2015 (the most recent year for which data was available). However, dietary energy contributions of soft drinks, fruit juices and fruit drinks declined between 2004 and 2015, particularly among children and adolescents. Read the study

Efficacy of “High in” Nutrient Specific Front of Package Labels—A Retail Experiment with Canadians of Varying Health Literacy Levels


Health Canada put forward a regulatory proposal in 2018 to introduce regulations requiring a “High in” front-of-package label (FOPL) on foods that exceed predetermined thresholds for sodium, sugars, or saturated fat. This study evaluated the efficacy of the proposed FOPL as a quick and easy tool for making food choices that support reduction in the intakes of these nutrients. Overall, FOPL was significantly more effective than current labeling at helping consumers of varying HL levels to identify foods high in nutrients of concern and make healthier food choices. All FOPL were equally effective. Read the article

Viewpoint: Nutrient warnings on Unhealthy Foods

JAMA Network 
Unhealthy diets, characterized by overconsumption of ultra-processed foods and sugary drinks, increase the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. A nutrient warning policy is a common-sense response to rising rates of diet-related disease. Nutrient warnings could help inform consumers, encourage the food industry to make healthier products, benefit public health, counteract certain industry marketing practices, and potentially improve health equity. Read the article

Why nutrition advice keeps changing

Psychology Today 

Over time, scientists are developing a better understanding of how food affects us. Nutrition is a fairly young science; the first studies tracking what people ate came in the late 1800s. We’re watching it grow up.  Read the article here

Fast food makes an unhealthy comeback among kids

Web MD 

After a period of improvement, U.S. kids are eating as much fast food as they were in the early 2000s, new government figures show. Researchers found that between 2003 and 2010, there was a decline in U.S. kids’ intake of fast-food calories — dipping from an average of 14% of daily calories, to just under 11%. By 2018, that figure was back up to 14%.  Read the article here


Mexico’s new warning labels on junk food meet supersized opposition from U.S., EU

Chronicle Herald 
The United States, European Union, Canada and Switzerland, home to some of the world’s biggest food companies, have pressed Mexico to delay upcoming health warnings on processed food and drinks, a World Trade Organization document showed. The Mexican standard, scheduled to take effect in October, will require front-of-pack nutrition labelling that clearly describes the health risks posed when those products are high in sugars, calories, salt, and saturated or trans fat. Read the article here

Study of supermarket meals gives food for thought

Medical Xpress 
A recent study in Australia found that supermarket ready-to-eat-meals generally should have been classified as unhealthy, but still received a passing grade from the Health Star ranking system.  Lead researcher Dr. Claire Pulker from the School of Public Health at Curtin University said 54 percent of the meals were found to be unhealthy according to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. As more people are buying these products due to COVID-19, it is important that they understand the health risks. Read more

Federal Court Strikes Down Trump Administration School Nutrition Rollbacks

Center for Science in the Public Interest

In a critical victory, a federal court struck down a rule by the Trump administration’s U.S. Department of Agriculture that rolled back nutrition standards on whole grains and sodium in school meals on the ground that the USDA failed to provide public notice of its plan to gut the standards. The Center for Science in the Public Interest and Healthy School Food Maryland brought the case in federal court in Maryland, represented by Democracy Forward.  Read the statement here.


Vancouver MP tables bill proposing national school food program for all

CBC British Columbia

Vancouver Kingsway MP Don Davies, the federal NDP health critic, introduced the School Food Program for Children Act on February 4. The bill would require the minister of health to develop a national school food program for all Canadian children at little or no direct cost to children and their families. “The last time the federal government seriously discussed implementing a national school food program was during Second World War,” Davies said. “So I think it’s long past time that we started taking a look at this. Read more