MONTREAL – The Canadian government is trying to do its part to help its citizens make healthy choices. Minister of Health Jane Philpott announced at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress that Health Canada will revise Canada’s Food Guide to reflect the latest science and knowledge on diet and health.
“Everyone can agree that eating well, staying active and living a healthy lifestyle are important to reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes,” said Philpott. “Our government’s actions are aimed at ensuring positive and meaningful impacts on the overall health of Canadians for generations to come.”
As a part of the revision process, Health Canada is asking Canadians to respond to an online survey by Dec. 8, to help assess the current program and identify areas in need of improvement. Survey responses will be used to:
- develop healthy eating recommendations and policies;
- identify ways to effectively communicate nutrition information to Canadians; and
- better understand how different audiences use healthy eating recommendations.
According to a Health Canada news release, four out of five Canadians risk developing cancer, heart disease or Type 2 diabetes. In addition, six out of 10 adults are overweight and one-third of youth are overweight or obese. “The annual economic burden of obesity in Canada is estimated in the billions of dollars,” according to the agency.
The revision of Canada’s Food Guide is part of Canada’s multi-year “Healthy Eating Strategy.” In addition to revising the food guide, the program plans to:
- strengthen nutrition and ingredient labeling, including sugars and food colors;
- reduce sodium in foods;
- eliminate industrially produced trans fat; and
- restrict marketing to children
Health Canada intends to use legislation, regulation, guidance and education to achieve its goal of a healthier Canada.
The Healthy Eating Strategy is a component of the government’s “Vision for a Healthy Canada.” According to the Vision’s backgrounder, “The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadians by providing them with tools and information to help them make informed health choices, lead healthier lives and build a healthier society.” The vision covers ways to support healthy eating, healthy living and a healthy mind.