Ontario's doctors congratulate latest U.S. jurisdiction to pass menu board labelling legislation

    TORONTO, Aug. 24 /CNW/ - Ontario's doctors are congratulating Albany
County, New York for passing a law that requires chain restaurants with ten or
more locations nationally to post the calorie counts of items on their menus
and menu boards. The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) is calling for similar
legislation to be introduced in Ontario.
    "There are more and more American jurisdictions passing menu board
labelling legislation, and it's time for Ontario to step up and do the same,"
said Dr. Suzanne Strasberg, President of the OMA. "I think it's reasonable for
parents and children in Ontario to have the information they need to choose
healthier options when they are on the go. Ontario has a real chance to step
up and be a leader in Canada."

    The OMA has called for:

    -   Chain restaurants and school cafeterias to voluntarily post calories
        counts on their menus and menu boards;

    -   The provincial government to enact menu board labelling legislation
        to ensure that consumers throughout the province have equal access to
        this information; and

    -   An education campaign to help inform Ontarians about the impact of
        caloric intake on weight gain and obesity.

    Municipal leaders at last week's Association of Municipalities of Ontario
(AMO) Annual Conference overwhelmingly supported the OMA's call to action. Of
the leaders surveyed, 96 per cent agreed that menu board labelling should be
implemented in order to help combat obesity in Ontario.
    "Concern over the growing rates of obesity across the province is a
common thread amongst Ontario's municipal leaders and there is growing support
for provincial action to help curb this epidemic," said Dr. Strasberg.
    The OMA emphasizes that menu board labelling is nothing new. According to
the Center for Science and the Public Interest, over 25 states in the US have
implemented, passed or introduced legislation requiring calories to be posted
on menus and menu boards and the US is close to requiring nation-wide menu
board labelling. In early June, the National Restaurant Association in the
United States agreed to support legislation that would require chain
restaurants in the US with 20 or more locations to list calories on their
menus and menu boards. As a result, menu board labelling is now included as
part of the US federal health care reform bill.
    In Ontario, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board will become the
first to take action on this initiative when it requires its cafeterias to
display the calorie counts of all menu items beginning in September.

For further information:

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

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