Food as a tool for disease prevention, economic prosperity

Ivey report calls for Canadian Food Strategy to set the table for the future

LONDON, ON, Aug. 5 /CNW/ - As Canada rapidly approaches what experts are calling a "health crisis," a new report issued by the Richard Ivey School of Business calls for a Canadian Food Strategy that fully addresses the health of Canadians and health opportunities for the agri-food industry. It seeks to tie national health and economic prosperity to food.

David Sparling, Chair of Agri-Food Innovation and Regulation at Ivey Business School, understands what Canada faces in the coming years.

"Our activity levels are falling while our caloric intakes are rising. Increasing incidences of chronic disease and skyrocketing healthcare costs threaten to overwhelm provincial budgets," said Sparling, arguing that this looming disaster can be traced to a complex combination of food and lifestyle choices.

The problem is not insurmountable. However, a change will require a mixture of government, industry and social strategies. Although real solutions require long-term planning, there are immediate opportunities for coordinated and directed steps forward.

To help address the issue, Ivey hosted a policy workshop on the opportunity to develop an integrated health and food policy framework earlier this year. The workshop focused on how Canadians' health can be improved through new products, research and communications, and on the policies and strategies through which government and industry can support this process. The workshop brought together 80 policy-makers from health and agriculture, researchers, industry leaders and students to discuss and advise on strategies for developing and implementing effective policies to improve the health of Canadians through better food and food choices.

The workshop was a joint effort by the Chair of Agri-Food Innovation and Regulation and the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management at the Richard Ivey School of Business.

The report, "Food and Health 2010: Advancing the Policy Agenda," released this week, calls for the creation of a Canadian Food Strategy to address the physical and economic health of Canada.

The report identifies six priorities necessary to make this strategy a reality. Recommendations include:

  • Canadians need to shift their thinking beyond single nutrients to overall diets and how they relate to lifestyles
  • Involving all stakeholders, from industry to government to NGOs, in developing national food strategies and policies
  • Supporting additional food and health research
  • Make healthy food decisions the easy food decisions for consumers through information
  • Make healthy food accessible
  • Link health strategy and business strategy

"The workshop and report prove that we can get health and food industry professionals to identify solutions to this critical issue.  Now we need to turn these ideas into policies and industry action," said Sparling.

The full report can be found here

About the Richard Ivey School of Business

The Richard Ivey School of Business ( href=""> at The University of Western Ontario is Canada's leading provider of relevant, innovative and comprehensive business education. Drawing on extensive research and business experience, Ivey faculty provide the best classroom experience, equipping graduates with the skills and capabilities they need to tackle the leadership challenges in today's complex business world. Ivey offers world-renowned undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as Executive Development at campuses in London (Ontario), Toronto and Hong Kong.

SOURCE Ivey Business School

For further information: For further information:

David Sparling, Richard Ivey School of Business, 519-661-3456,
Mary Weil, Richard Ivey School of Business, 416-203-0664,

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