Commons Report Targets Scourge of Childhood Obesity

    OTTAWA, March 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA),
representing more than 65,000 physicians across the country, lauded a
significant new report on childhood obesity released today by the House of
Commons Standing Committee on Health.
    "As physicians, we know that obesity and physical inactivity are two of
the gravest health problems facing our children" said CMA President Colin
McMillan. "The rate of childhood obesity in Canada is unacceptable and the
physicians of Canada commend the all-party Committee for recognizing that
Canada must do better and for putting forward ideas to do so."
    An Ipsos-Reid survey commissioned by the CMA in 2006 found that only 9%
of parents identified their children as overweight or obese. In reality,
however, well over 26% of Canadian children are overweight or obese. This
denial poses a significant challenge to educate Canadian parents but it poses
an even great risk to the health of Canadian children. The Health Committee's
report is a major step that will inform parents and decision-makers and force
them to take action.
    The Committee, chaired by Rob Merrifield (MP-Yellowhead), identified 13
recommendations in its report, with the following three themes:
    - recognition that obesity is a societal challenge that needs a
      comprehensive public awareness campaign to educate Canadians and the
      data to support policy decisions;
    - the need for clear information for consumers by requiring mandatory,
      standardized, simple front of package labelling;
    - the need for action to give Canadians healthier choices including the
      removal of trans fats from the Canadian diet, replaced with an
      alternative low in saturated fat.

    "The conclusions contained in the report are crucial to implementing a
comprehensive strategy to combat the epidemic of obesity," added Dr. McMillan.
"Of particular note is the realization that achieving progress will require
action from all levels of government and involvement and participation of all

    The CMA and its partners, the Canadian Paediatric Society and the College
of Family Physicians of Canada will be hosting a national Children's Health
Summit, in Ottawa on April 25-26, 2007. Summit participants will examine the
Committee's report in greater detail, using it as an important support in
their work to develop a Children's Health Charter. This Charter will help
serve as a critical guidepost to drive Canada's efforts toward development of
an action plan that improves the health of Canada's children.

For further information:

For further information: Contact: Steve Wharry, 1-800-663-7336 or (613)
731-8610 x2135

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