TORONTO — Celebrity chef and author Jamie Oliver, along with members of the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition and other health experts, recently discussed the need for drastic improvements in Canada’s nutrition landscape and developed long-term strategies in support of healthier Canadian families.
Panel members included Geoff Craig, CMO of Heart and Stroke Foundation; Dr. Jan Hux, CSO of Canadian Diabetes Association; Dr. Tom Warshawski, chair of Childhood Obesity Foundation; senator Nancy Green Raine; and Nathan Sing, youth advocate. The session was moderated by Nick Saul, president and CEO of Community Food Centres Canada.
Strategies included restricting food-and-beverage marketing to kids, implementing a levy on sugary beverages, improving nutrition labels, establishing healthy choices in schools and investing in indigenous food programs and better food education.
“We know more than 90 per cent of food decisions in the household are driven by children,” says Craig. “The ‘nag factor’ does not come out of nowhere — it is driven by marketing messages. It is not a fair fight for parents. Winning the battle for harmony often means losing the battle for health.”
Jamie Oliver spoke about the dire need for new initiatives concerning childhood nutrition and obesity and reiterated health minister Jane Philpott’s mandate on restricting marketing to kids. He also expressed his hope that Canada captures the opportunity to be a global leader in nutrition policy, pointing out that the country is on the brink of something huge. The initiative “can’t be good. It has to be fantastic,” says Oliver.