Heart & Stroke welcomes the much-anticipated policy update and consultations from Health Canada proposing restrictions on the advertising of unhealthy food and beverages to children under the age of 13.
“Kids are bombarded with ads for unhealthy food and beverages everywhere they turn – from websites and social media to product packaging and retail settings – and they deserve to be protected,” says Doug Roth, CEO, Heart & Stroke. “We are encouraged to see progress on the development of regulations that would restrict marketing to kids and look forward to reviewing Health Canada’s proposed policy. We will continue to advocate for regulations restricting the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to kids across all types of media by fall 2023.”
The proposed policy aims to reduce the risk of chronic disease by limiting children’s exposure to influential food advertising – something Heart & Stroke has advocated for over many years.
Children are uniquely vulnerable to marketing due to their still developing brains. Children four years and under can’t distinguish advertising from reality. As they get older (10-12 years), they may understand the purpose, but are not consistently critical.
“The evidence is unequivocal that food and beverage marketing plays a critical role in shaping what kids eat and the foods they pester their parents for, and it shows” says Roth. “Ultra-processed food consumption is highest in children aged 9-13 years making up nearly 60% of the calories in their diet. Health Canada can protect kids’ health and support parents by ensuring regulations are comprehensive.”
About Heart & Stroke
Life. We don’t want you to miss it. That’s why Heart & Stroke has been leading the fight to beat heart disease and stroke for 70 years. 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. Heartandstroke.ca @HeartandStroke