OTTAWA, Oct. 31, 2013 /CNW/ - Children need to learn more than how to
read and write at school—they should also be learning about a healthy
diet, according to a new Conference Board of Canada report.
Incorporating education about nutrition into Canadian school programs,
at least up to a Grade 6 level, is one of the recommendations from the
report published by the Centre for Food in Canada, What's to Eat? Improving Food Literacy in Canada.
"Nutrition education for children is especially important as a positive
influence on their food-related knowledge and skills, eating and
physical activity behaviours, and health status," said Alison Howard,
Principal Research Associate. "This is the prime time to teach them
behaviours that will have a lasting impact on the rest of their lives."
Food nutrition education efforts and school nutrition programs are most
effective when paired together, as outlined in a previous Centre for
Food in Canada report, Enough for All: Household Food Security in Canada.
There are still significant gaps in Canadians' knowledge about food
nutrition and health.
Factors such as price, convenience, taste and availability compete with
knowledge about nutrition and health when consumers are making
Food literacy can be broadly defined as an individual's food-related
knowledge, attitudes, and skills. These factors influence food-related
decisions and behaviours.
Food literacy refers to the ability of people to: select and purchase
nutritious foods and meals, safely store and prepare food, interpret
food labels and claims, and plan and budget for meals. Although most
Canadians have a fairly good basic knowledge of food, nutrition, and
health, they often do not put that knowledge to use.
The report highlights successful programs, such as Health Canada's
popular Canada's Food Guide, school meal programs, and partnerships
among the public sector, private enterprises and not-for-profit
Along with incorporating food literacy into school curricula, the report
makes six additional recommendations:
Make nutritional information more effective, understandable and
accessible for household use.
Tailor food literacy programs to high-risk populations and community
needs, such as Aboriginal peoples and recent immigrants.
Foster parental involvement in hands-on experiential opportunities to
develop food literacy.
Create guiding principles for children's advertising as it relates to
Replicate highly successful international food literacy programs, such
as the Food Dudes in the United Kingdom and the Stephanie Alexander
Kitchen Garden Foundation in Australia.
Track, study and evaluate food literacy initiatives.
This report is one of 20 being produced by the Centre for Food in
Canada. Since 2010, the Centre has been engaging stakeholders from
business, government, academia, associations, and communities in
creating a Canadian Food Strategy —one that will meet the country's need for a coordinated, long-term
strategy on industry prosperity, healthy and safe food, household food
security, and environmental sustainability. The strategy will be
launched at the third Canadian Food Summit, in March 2014.
SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada
For further information:
Yvonne Squires, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 221