Ontario's Doctors Applaud Move to Reduce Junk Food in Schools

    Nutrient poor foods should be removed from schools to combat childhood
    obesity rates

    TORONTO, Dec. 5 /CNW/ - Ontario's doctors support the action taken by the
provincial government today to remove trans-fats and junk food from schools.
In 2005, The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) called for a restriction on
nutrient-poor foods for students while under the care of school boards in
order to help curb the rate of childhood obesity. Doctors have also been
calling on the provincial government to mandate one hour per day of structured
aerobic physical activity and exercise for elementary and secondary school
students in order to help reverse this dangerous trend.
    "The evidence is clear, obesity rates in children can be siginificantly
decreased with appropriate physical activity and healthy food options," said
Dr. Janice Willett, President of the OMA. "It is essential that school be a
healthy environment for children, where they can experience healthy behaviours
that will continue into adulthood."
    The OMA report, An Ounce of Prevention or a Ton of Trouble: Is there an
epidemic of obesity in children? showed that from 1981 to 1996, the proportion
of overweight boys increased from 15 to 28.8 per cent and overweight girls
from 15 to 23.6 per cent. The report also highlighted the severe and
potentially life-threatening consequences of obesity. Obese children face an
increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes,
breathing problems (such as obstructive sleep apnea) and orthopedic
    "The provincial government has shown that health promotion is a priority
and tackling junk food in schools shows they are committed to improving the
health of our children," said Dr. Willett. "This action, in combination with
more physical activity and public education, will help address this growing
public health issue."

    For a copy of the report An Ounce of Prevention or Ton of Trouble, please
visit www.oma.org.

For further information:

For further information: please call OMA Media Relations at (416)
340-2862 or toll free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862

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Ontario Medical Association

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