TORONTO, March 5, 2013 /CNW/ - A report aimed at driving down Ontario's sky high childhood obesity rate
has the backing of the province's registered nurses.
Recommendations outlined in "No Time to Wait: The Healthy Kids Strategy"
were released March 4 by Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term
Care, and Teresa Piruzza, Minister of Children and Youth Services. The
report's 23 recommendations look at everything from how to lay the
groundwork for better child health early on to changing the way food is
packaged, marketed and sold.
"We applaud the government for taking a serious look at this pervasive
and very alarming problem. We know one third of the children in this
province already have an unhealthy weight and the majority of them will
remain obese as they become adults," says Doris Grinspun, chief
executive officer of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
(RNAO). "That's why the timing to get this right couldn't be more
urgent." Grinspun says nurses are in a unique position to work with
children and families to confront this major public health challenge.
RNAO is particularly pleased with the panel's recommendation to better
promote the importance of breastfeeding. RNAO developed a nursing best
practice guideline on breastfeeding 10 years ago, and it has since been
revised to reflect current evidence. The guideline recommends that new
mothers breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months of
a child's life. Not only does breast milk provide important nutrients
and antibodies, there is also evidence breast-fed babies are less
likely to become obese later in life.
RNAO says tackling obesity isn't as simple as dangling more carrot
sticks in front of kids or persuading them to run and skip more. RNAO's
President Rhonda Seidman-Carlson says focusing on children and families
who live in poverty and those with mental health issues is critical to
a comprehensive obesity strategy. "It's not always easy for parents to
make the right decisions when it comes to healthier food choices. Foods
that are higher in fat content are often cheaper and more readily
available, and that has to change," says Seidman-Carlson.
The province's Healthy Kids Panel brought together 18 professionals from
all walks of life, including an RN who implemented another RNAO best
practice guideline related to primary prevention of childhood obesity
in her workplace. Carol Diemer, who works for the Windsor Essex
Community Health Centre, helped implement RNAO's BPG on the prevention
of childhood obesity in her facility. She credits it with assisting
countless children and families. The guideline is being used by
numerous health-care organizations including Toronto's Hospital for
Sick Children and Grey Bruce Health Services.
Seidman-Carlson says the association looks forward to continuing its
work with members of the province's Healthy Kids Panel so "we can
achieve Ontario's goal of reducing childhood obesity by 20 per cent by
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional
association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO
has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing
practice, increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health-care
system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they
For more information about RNAO and the two best practice guidelines
cited in the provincial Healthy Kids Strategy, visit www.RNAO.ca You can also check out our Facebook page at www.RNAO.org/facebook or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RNAO.
SOURCE: Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
For further information:
To arrange an interview with a nurse, please contact:
Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Cell: 647-406-5605 / Phone: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209