Significant progress achieved in plan to make healthier food choices easier for Canadians
VANCOUVER, Oct. 20, 2017 /CNW/ - Canada is facing a diet-related chronic disease crisis. To address this issue, the Government of Canada is implementing a comprehensive Healthy Eating Strategy that aims to make healthier food choices easier for Canadians and improve the quality of the foods they have to choose from.
Tomorrow, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, will mark the one-year anniversary of the Healthy Eating Strategy at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Vancouver. You can watch the Minister's speech live at 9 a.m. PDT at Periscope.tv/HealthCanada.
The Healthy Eating Strategy aims to improve healthy eating information, strengthen labelling and claims, improve the nutrition quality of foods, protect vulnerable populations, and support increased access to and availability of nutritious foods.
The Government of Canada is taking actions to help Canadians make healthy food choices. Last December, the Government published updates to the Nutrition Facts table and list of ingredients that will make the table easier to use. For example, all sugars in a product will now be grouped together, so that Canadians will know the total sugars in most packaged foods.
Last month, the Government announced the final step to ban partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) from all foods sold in Canada. PHOs are the main source of industrially produced trans fats. This major achievement will reduce the incidence of heart disease in Canada.
Health Canada has consulted broadly on sodium reduction in an effort to reduce the amount of sodium in foods sold in Canada, and is currently consulting on sodium reduction in restaurants. The Department is also consulting on proposed approaches that would restrict the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children.
Health Canada continues to move ahead with the transformation of Canada's Food Guide, so that it reflects the latest scientific evidence on diet and health. The Department has worked with academics and nutritional health experts, and two public consultations have been completed. The current paper-based document will be replaced with new innovative tools in a variety of formats that will be modern, adaptable and easy to use.
Health Canada is proposing options for a new front-of-package symbol to complement the revised Nutrition Facts table. Such a symbol would identify, at a glance, packaged foods that are high in sugars, salt and saturated fats. The Department has also just completed a consultation on this proposal and is working to develop options for the symbol.
"We need to confront the challenge of diet-related chronic diseases in Canada. Health Canada's strategy takes a reasonable and responsible approach to addressing this serious health issue. Our goal is to help reverse troubling obesity trends and to prevent nutrition-related chronic diseases. Only by making it easier for Canadians to make healthier choices and by improving the overall food environment in Canada, will we begin to see change."
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
"We have an unprecedented opportunity in Canada to make meaningful changes to our food environment. We applauded the trans fat ban and we are eager to work with Health Canada to drive forward the Healthy Eating Strategy including legislation prohibiting food and beverage marketing to children, an updated Food Guide, improving access to healthy food in Northern communities, and developing strong, easy to understand front-of-package nutrition labelling."
CEO, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada
- One in five Canadians has a chronic disease such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes.
- Two in three Canadian adults are obese or overweight. And one in three Canadian children is overweight or obese – three times higher than in 1980.
- Canadians eat too much sugar, sodium and saturated fat. The average Canadian eats the equivalent of 26 teaspoons of sugar a day; 9 out of 10 Canadians eat too much sodium; and 50% of Canadians eat too much saturated fat.
- Eight out of 10 Canadians say nutrition is important when choosing foods, but that they are faced with so many food choices that it's difficult to choose healthy foods. An average Canadian supermarket contains almost 40,000 food items.
- Sixty percent of the foods Canadians buy are processed and packaged. Most of these foods are high in sugars, sodium and saturated fat.
SOURCE Health Canada
For further information: Contacts: Yves-Alexandre Comeau, Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Media Relations, Health Canada, 613-957-2983; Public Inquiries, 613-957-2991, 1-866 225-0709