Landmark survey shows what's weighing on the minds of Canadian Women

    Dairy Farmers of Canada and Ipsos Reid release unprecedented research

    MONTREAL, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - A major survey released today by Registered
Dietitians at Dairy Farmers of Canada and Ipsos Reid confirmed that Canadian
women of all sizes, ages and demographics are struggling with a strong
emotional component to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. The online
survey was conducted in December 2007 and involved a sample of almost 3000
women in all regions of Canada.
    "To my knowledge, this is the largest survey ever released in Canada on
women's attitudes towards maintaining a healthy weight," said Sean Simpson,
Research Manager with Ipsos Reid Canada. "Dairy Farmers of Canada should be
commended for their commitment to helping Canadians better understand one of
the most complex health and lifestyle issues facing Canadian women."
    The survey was designed to delve into women's attitudes towards managing
their own weight by exploring topics including eating and lifestyle habits,
relationships, self esteem support, societal pressures and other key factors
as related to weight.

    Key findings of the survey include:
    -   80 per cent of women want to lose weight, including 56 per cent who
        are currently at a healthy weight.
    -   While 58 per cent feel pressure from society in general to be thin or
        lose weight, 52 per cent feel bombarded and confused by the seemingly
        contradictory news reports on healthy living and eating habits.
    -   42 per cent of women cited improving their health as the primary
        reason to lose weight, while 41 per cent cited improving self esteem.
        However, when secondary reasons are included, improving self esteem
        ranks as the highest motivator with 86 per cent, compared to
        76 per cent of women citing health.
    -   28 per cent say that managing their weight dominates their life.

    "It's particularly interesting to see how negatively women responded when
asked to categorize their own weight. This is understandable given our
culture's extreme pressure on women to be a certain size and shape. Canadian
women are so self-critical when it comes to weight," said health researcher,
writer, and Registered Dietitian Dr. Gail Marchessault. "I don't want to blame
women for this, but I do want women to start accepting themselves for who they
truly are. If they are determined to make changes, then they should start by
setting realistic goals for behavioural changes."

    The Healthy Weight Program

    Dairy Farmers of Canada developed the Healthy Weight program designed to
help Canadian women get healthy and feel better about themselves. The program
was developed with the insights of real Canadian women who, during focus
groups, were open about what mattered to them and what type of health and
lifestyle information they wanted. At the core of this program is, an online community where women can interact directly
with nutrition and physical activity experts, share personal tips and access
science-based health information.
    From now until April 25, qualified experts in nutrition and physical
activity will be available every weekday from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm EST to
provide personal advice live to individual women online.
    "I have worked closely with Dairy Farmers of Canada on developing the
Healthy Weight program for the past year. It is unique in how it offers clear,
practical information on how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight," said
Lois Ferguson, Registered Dietitian. "For instance, close to 10 per cent of
women said they cut milk and milk products from their diet to lose weight,
when scientific evidence has clearly shown that milk can help play a positive
role in weight management. This kind of conflict clearly shows that women need
better resources, and is a great place to start."

    About Dairy Farmers of Canada

    Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is involved in a number of initiatives that
promote good nutrition and healthy living. The Registered Dietitians at DFC
are committed to understanding and translating the science and art of healthy
eating into effective, innovative, and award winning resources. DFC is
completely funded by dairy producers.

For further information:

For further information: and to arrange an interview with Lois Ferguson
and Dr. Gail Marchessault, please contact: Will Lamont, Laurie Weir, Trillium
Corporate Communications Inc, (416) 322-3030 ext 241, 239,,

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