March 28, 2007 17:52 ET

Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Supports Healthy Weights, Healthy Children Report-and Urges Action Now!

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 28, 2007) - The Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada (CDPAC) supports the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health's new report on childhood obesity entitled, Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids. CDPAC members applaud the leadership of Committee Chair MP Rob Merrifield and the other members of the Committee who worked across party lines for the benefit of Canadian children.

CDPAC believes it is essential to reverse the current trends in childhood obesity if we are to be successful in reducing the burden of chronic disease in Canada in both the short and long term. "The link between obesity and cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers as well as other chronic conditions is well established" says Stephen Samis, CDPAC Steering Committee Chair, "and the upward trend in obesity for children explains in part why the current generation of children may be first to have a lower life expectancy than their parents."

CDPAC commends the Committee for taking a broad view of the childhood obesity issue in Canada and for recommending a comprehensive, holistic and multi-pronged approach to addressing this urgent health issue.

CDPAC supports the recommendations in the Report, specifically:

- Developing a mechanism to ensure coordination and collaboration among various federal government departments and agencies. CDPAC recommends the lead department or agency be identified immediately, and that it works with Dr. Kellie Leitch-Special Advisor to Health Minister.

- Establishing short and medium term targets for achieving healthy weights and measuring progress towards achieving the targets. CDPAC supports the 2010 and 2020 targets.

- Investigation of regulating the marketing and advertising to children and its impact on obesity. CDPAC is developing a process to explore this issue.

- Removing trans fats from our food supply. CDPAC asks the Minister of Health to implement the recommendations of the Trans Fat Task Force Final Report.

- Establishing a new and dedicated community infrastructure fund for infrastructure at the community level that enhances physical activity and healthy food choices. CDPAC strongly endorses this recommendation.

- Clear, standardized labelling on the front of packaged foods (e.g. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada's Health Check™ symbol). CDPAC is concerned the proliferation of private sector food symbols is leading to consumer confusion.

- Building research capacity and Canada's research data infrastructure to ensure timely and relevant data on the problem and the impact of policies, programs and interventions aimed at reducing child obesity. CDPAC recommends the federal government establish a birth cohort to better understand the determinants of children's health over the life course.

CDPAC believes that the time to act on childhood obesity is now and is pleased that the recommendations in the Committee's report reflect many of the issues CDPAC and its member organizations presented to the Committee during its hearings. CDPAC and its members welcome the opportunity to work with the federal government in implementing the recommendations in the Committee's report.

CDPAC is a dynamic network of over 60 national and provincial organizations who share a common vision for a coordinated system of chronic disease prevention in Canada. The Alliance is led by a Steering Committee, which includes the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Diabetes Association, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Lung Association, Canadian Public Health Association, Canadian Alliance of Mental Illness and Mental Health, YMCA Canada, Canadian Council for Tobacco Control, the Coalition for Active Living, Dieticians of Canada and two representatives from the CDPAC Network of Provincial/Territorial Alliances (currently the BC Healthy Living Alliance and the Newfoundland Wellness Council).

Contact Information

  • Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada
    Jean Harvey
    613-565-2522 ext 308