In light of an ever-present – and growing – obesity epidemic in North America, Health Canada is taking aim at junk food ads that appeal to kids.
Ottawa will be consulting the public, in addition to industry and health groups over a 45-day consultation period, before their plan to introduce legislation to restrict – or maybe even ban – selling junk foods to younger demographics.
Since 1980, childhood obesity rates have tripled in Canada. Today, nearly a third of Canadians aged six to 17 is considered overweight or obese.
A Senate survey suggests obesity is a slippery slope – obese children will likely become obese adults, which adds economic strain on society. This economic ‘fattening’ could pile healthcare costs – and lost productivity – as high as seven billion dollars annually.
The stricter advertising rules won’t just impact Canadian’s health – social and traditional media may change, as well as television, and even sports sponsorship.
“I don’t think we’re setting a good example when we show these super athletes drinking all these sugary drinks,” parent Robyn Hardiman told CTV News.
Junk food advertising restrictions are nothing new; six other countries, including the U.K., have instilled such guidelines.
In Canada, just Quebec has restrictions on marketing certain foods to children.
Andrea Carpenter, a pediatric dietitian, says that while the restrictions will help, better food education must accompany the initiative.
“You could eat a whole bag of apples to be equivalent to the amount of sugar you’d be consuming in a single glass of apple juice,” Carpenter said.
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