Heart & Stroke is very pleased Health Canada is proposing a front-of-package nutrition symbol to alert people in Canada about unhealthy food and beverage products as an important component of its Healthy Eating Strategy. In Canada, diet-related factors are now the leading risk for death and the annual cost of diet-related disease is $26 billion.
“Millions of Canadians are living with diet-related disease, taking a huge toll on their health and their families,” says Yves Savoie, CEO, Heart & Stroke. “Adding a clearly visible and easy to understand symbol on the front of unhealthy food and beverage packages will help steer people away from these products and support them to make healthy choices.”
Heart & Stroke applauds the government’s action on the Healthy Eating Strategy to date including banning trans fats in all foods sold in Canada. The roll out of other important elements of the strategy, notably revisions to the Food Guide and legislation restricting unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children, will further support Canadians and their families. Marketing greatly influences children’s food choices and preferences and 90% of the food and beverage ads they see on TV and online are for unhealthy items high in sugar, fat or salt.
“We know from recent research we commissioned that Canadians are getting half of their daily calories from ultra-processed foods, and this figure is even higher for some of our children who are unfortunately the biggest consumers of these unhealthy options,” says Yves Savoie. “We need strong policies to change our food environment and to make the healthy choices the easier choices.”
Other elements of a multi-pronged approach to help Canadians eat better include better access to healthy, affordable food including in rural and remote regions, access to safe drinking water in all communities, increased public awareness, and food literacy and food preparation skills building.
Canadians should eat a healthy, balanced diet focused on whole foods with lots of vegetables and fruit, limit ultra-processed foods, avoid sugary drinks, watch portion sizes, and cook at home as often as possible.
Canadians are strongly encouraged to provide feedback on the proposed front-of-package symbols before the final decision is made, by participating in the online consultation.
About Heart & Stroke
Life. We don’t want you to miss it. That’s why Heart & Stroke leads the fight against heart disease and stroke. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so Canadians don’t miss out on precious moments. Together, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy.
Senior Manager, Communications, Heart & Stroke
613.691.4022 or 613.290.4236