Health Canada takes aim at junk food ads targeting kids
With childhood obesity rates on the rise, Health Canada is taking aim at junk food ads that target kids.
Ottawa will be consulting the public as well as industry and health groups during a 45-day consultation period before introducing legislation to restrict -- or perhaps even ban -- the marketing of junk food to young people.
Childhood obesity rates in Canada have tripled since 1980, and today, nearly one third of Canadians aged six to 17 is overweight or obese.
Evidence shows that obese children tend to become obese adults, which creates a significant economic strain on society, costing up to seven billion dollars annually in healthcare and lost productivity, according to a Senate survey.
And while tighter rules on advertising junk food to kids will likely impact Canadians’ health, it could also influence social and traditional media, such as television, as well as sports sponsorships.
“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.
Currently, similar restrictions exist in at least six other countries, including the U.K., where such ads are limited during peak television viewing hours.
In Canada, only Quebec has restrictions on the marketing of food to children.
Andrea Carpenter, a pediatric dietitian, says that restrictions will help -- but she also insists that there has to be better food education, even for products like fruit juices.
“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.
With a report from CTV National News Ottawa correspondent Omar Sachedina