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Editorial: Saskatchewan needs to tackle obesity

Saskatoon Star Phoenix + Regina Leder Post

The editorial board writes that the high rate of obesity in Saskatchewan should be a topic of conversation and that the government should lead efforts on tackling the problem.

Sweet spot: Norwegians cut sugar intake to lowest level in 44 years

The Guardian

An annual report on the Norwegian diet reported that average annual consumption of sugar had plummeted from 43kg to 24kg per person between 2000 and 2018 – including a 27% reduction in the past decade – to a level lower than that recorded in 1975.  Norway has had a sugar tax since 1922 and more recently has created separate taxes for confectionary and sugary drinks.

Read the article here.

Children consume products with added sugar too early and too often, a new study finds

CTV News

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States found added sugars in the daily diets of 61 per cent of babies (aged six to eleven months) and 98 per cent of toddlers (aged 12 to 23 months), according to a new study published by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Read the article here

Irish Heart Foundation calls for marketing bans on junk food to combat childhood obesity

MSN.com

Irish government research estimates that 85,000 of today’s children will die prematurely due to obesity. The Irish Heart Foundation is looking to decrease childhood obesity by 50% in the next decade and has proposed new taxes on sugary products as well as an end to price promotions for unhealthy foods and drinks. Read the article here

 

It costs Canada $9B to treat obesity, while barely any money is put into preventative care

The National Post

In Canada obesity-related health care costs are as high as $7 billion and are projected to increase to nearly $9 billion by 2021. But experts say many of these costs are a result of the health care system’s failure to properly treat obesity. Rather than taking a proactive approach, the system is instead set up to treat conditions that develop as a result of the disease which results in more money being spent in the long-run. Read the article here

Obesity ‘causes more cases of some cancers than smoking’

BBC News
Cancer Research UK says bowel, kidney, ovarian and liver cancers are more likely to have been caused by being overweight than by smoking tobacco and that obese people outnumber smokers two to one in the UK. Their new billboard campaign highlighting the obesity-cancer risk has landed them in hot water for fat-shaming. Read article here

More on this story:

Sugar tax, prominent labels reduce sugar consumption, Ontario study suggests

Toronto Star

A University of Waterloo study suggests that taxes on sugary products and labels on the front of packages can help reduce sugar consumption. The study, which included more than 3,500 people aged 13 and over on their purchasing behaviour last spring, also found that taxes could have the greatest impact if 100 percent fruit juice was included in reduction efforts. Read article here.
Read the study here

Tell Food Industry Our Kids are Not Their Business

On January 6, 2008, I lost a vibrant, healthy and much loved 15-year-old son.  I believe a contributing cause to his death was consumption of an energy drink sample at a sporting event.  You can read more about my son’s death on my facebook awareness page.

Industry marketed directly to my son.

Since then, I have done extensive research on the potentially fatal effects of energy drinks and marketing to kids. Three deaths associated with energy drinks are documented in Health Canada’s database, all teenage deaths (1). It has been estimated that for every adverse report filed, up to ten go unreported. My research strongly suggests the unreported number may be much higher.

Experts continue to question the safety of energy drinks’ ingredient cocktail, not just their caffeine content. There are no long-term studies that prove the safety of energy drinks. On the contrary, emerging research strongly suggests they pose a public health threat. In 2010, Health Canada appointed an Expert Panel on Caffeinated Energy Drinks. They came back with very strong recommendations to mitigate safety concerns related to these products most of which were never addressed.

Energy drinks are the worst case example of industry marketing an unhealthy – and potentially dangerous product – to children and youth. This must stop.

My three primary goals are to:

  1. Protect children and youth from the potentially fatal effects of energy drinks. First, by treating these products like tobacco, alcohol, and fireworks, through a ban on sale to minors. Second, through federal legislation restricting the commercial marketing of foods and beverages to children.
  2. Raise awareness of the potential dangers of energy drinks through education programs, point of sale signage, and separate shelf placement.
  3. Encourage more research on the health risks associated with caffeinated energy drinks.

Currently, there is nothing to stop industry from marketing to another young member of my family. This must change. Voluntary self-regulation by industry of marketing to children has proven an abysmal failure. Regulations with stiff penalties are needed to mitigate the risk energy drinks and their abusive marketing pose to children and youth.

I’ve voiced my concerns on several occasions and continue this dialogue with all levels of government in Canada. On June 8, 2010, I appeared as a witness in Ottawa before the Standing Committee on Health. More recently, I presented to the Toronto Board of Health (March 20, 2017), and the Ottawa Board of Health (April 3, 2017).

On January 6, 2016, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Trudeau, I offered my strong support for the Liberal campaign promise to restrict the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children. I implored the Prime Minister to give special consideration to energy drinks and related caffeinated energy products when developing those regulations. More so, I stressed that children and youth are bombarded with the adventurous and trendy marketing associated with these drinks. Teenagers must also be protected from abusive marketing, not just those 12 and under.

No other family should have to live with the questions that my family does. Sadly, I have connected with several others families who have shared similar losses, more than one of them in Canada. They all share my suspicions.

I urge you to take action.  Tell government to restrict the commercial marketing of foods and beverages to children and youth. Send an e-card to your MP letting them know marketing to kids must stop. Together, our message is stronger. Food and beverage companies must be told, our kids are not their business.

By Jim Shepherd

Reference

  1. Canada Vigilance Summary of Reported Adverse Reactions. Canadian Vigilance Database. Health Canada. December 19, 2013. Accessed via: CanadaVigilance@hc-sc.gc.ca

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We Need To Use Every Tool To Fix Our Unhealthy Diets

The Huffington Post | Yves Savoie, CEO of Heart & Stroke

We need to use every tool to fix our unhealthy diets It is encouraging to see federal government moving in several important areas to help Canadians make better food and beverage choices We can’t cure heart disease or diabetes. But we can help prevent or delay them and other chronic illnesses in one vital way — with a healthier diet. Read more… 

 

 

Trevor Hancock: Protect our kids from unhealthy advertising

Times Colonist

Which brings me to the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to our kids, especially sugar-rich products they do not need and that are contributing to the epidemic of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. Here is another situation where government is not doing enough to protect us from harm. Read article here…