Changing the global dietary environment - Top international experts to meet at McGill conference on childhood obesity

    MONTREAL, Oct. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Leading international experts from
health, agriculture, food, education, finance, management, environmental
protection, politics and economics will meet at the McGill University Health
Challenge Think Tank November 7, 8 and 9 to tackle one of the most serious
threats to our children's health and well-being: the global childhood obesity
    Since 2003, Professor Laurette Dubé, James McGill Chair in Consumer and
Lifestyle Psychology and Marketing, has convened an annual Health Challenge
Think Tank based on the firm conviction that addressing global health issues
in a comprehensive, effective way demands a massive mobilization across
borders, sectors and areas of expertise. To that end, this year's event will
draw a Who's Who of key international scientists, stakeholders and
decision-makers, including representatives from the Food and Health
Organization of the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the
Culinary Institute of America, the American Beverage Association, the
Clinton Foundation/American Heart Association's Alliance for a Healthier
Generation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as well as from Unilever,
PepsiCo, Kellogg, Sodexho, Discovery Kids, SAM Sustainable Asset Management
and many other actors from the private sector and civil society.
    As individuals, organizations, institutions and governments have been
successfully mobilized to implement significant "environmentally friendly"
actions, the 2007 Think Tank calls with the same urgency for "health-friendly"
actions. "If we are to have a fighting chance at stopping the progression of
the childhood obesity pandemic," says Dubé, "we need nothing less than a
reconsideration of the basic ways in which our society operates to place
health on everyone's agenda. This means looking at health within the broader
economic and cultural context that critically shapes such an agenda."
    Think Tank participants will examine the most strategic points along
local and global food chains to shift the drivers of food supply and demand in
a "health-friendly" direction. A special module in the program is devoted to
the empowerment of schools and communities in the fight against obesity.
    The McGill Health Challenge Think Tank is open to the media and will be
webcast live. The Think Tank will be followed by two related events, a one-day
Research Workshop to foster a novel, multi-sector approach to obesity
prevention anchored in geo-spatial analyses and complex systems theories and
methods (November 10) and a two-day WHO Forum on Trade and Healthy Food and
Diets, aimed at informing national and international policy in matters at the
convergence of trade, nutrition, health and diet (November 12-13). Presenters
at these two events may be available for interviews and web-recording will be
posted upon closure.

    This conference is organized by McGill University, in collaboration with
partner and contributor organizations that include the Global Prevention
Alliance, the Fondation André et Lucie Chagnon, the Ministère de la santé et
des services sociaux du Québec, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the
Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Health Canada, the National
Institutes of Health (USA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(USA), the American Heart Association, the Ministère de l'agriculture, des
pêcheries et de l'alimentation du Québec and the Canadian Agri-Food Policy

For further information:

For further information: Michael Bourguignon, Media Relations Office,
McGill University, (514) 398-8305

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