“…For the first time in more than a century, the children of today may have less healthy and possibly even shorter lives than their parents.”
Public Health Agency of Canada
Marketing and Health
Research shows that as much as 90% of food and beverages marketed to children are for processed foods, high in sugar, salt and/or saturated fat. This marketing is having a devastating effect on children’s health and causing conflict in families.
Research has shown that food and beverage marketing has an impact on:
- The foods children eat.
- Their food preferences and beliefs.
- The foods they pester their parents to buy.
- The high rate of childhood obesity.
- Increased risk factors for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. And there is consistent evidence that living with these chronic diseases puts people at higher risk for Covid-19 related medical complications and higher Covid-19 related mortality compared to others.
Healthy eating is one of the most important things we can do for overall health and children deserve to be protected from the persuasiveness and invasiveness of food and beverage marketing. On October 24, 2016 the Minister of Health launched a Healthy Eating Strategy as part of the Government’s vision for a healthy Canada. Restricting the commercial marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to kids was one of the key initiatives, however this commitment has never been fulfilled.
Reducing the power and exposure of food and beverage marketing to children will protect children and support parents as they help their children develop healthy eating habits and food preferences.
Worsening health trends in Canada:
- Children (9-13 yrs of age) get almost 60% of their calories from ultra-processed foods.
- The rates of childhood obesity are one of the highest in the world. Almost one in three children and youth ages 5 to 17 in Canada have overweight or obesity, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
- In Canada, kids’ risk factors for premature heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes are at epidemic levels.
- Over the past 70 years, consumption of processed and ultra-processed foods in Canada has doubled, from 30% of the average family’s food purchases to 60%.
- Diet-related chronic diseases are having a devastating impact on our healthcare system. In 2019 they were responsible for approximately 36,000 deaths in Canada, costing the Canadian economy over $26 billion annually.