Banning unhealthy food advertising to children
February 9, 2017SPHERU’s Dr. Rachel Engler-Stringer joined the Heart and Stroke Foundation last week in talking about how the food and beverage industry are marketing unhealthy options to children in Canada.
On Feb. 1, the Heart and Stroke Foundation released their annual report entitled, “The kids are not alright. How the food and beverage industry is marketing our children and youth to death.”
Dr. Engler-Stringer and Fleur Macqueen Smith, director of government relations and health promotion of the Saskatchewan Heart and Stroke Foundation, appeared on Global News Regina and Global News Saskatoon to explain the effects food and beverage advertising have on children and their families.
During her appearance on the Global Regina News Morning Show, Dr. Engler-Stringer explained that since 1979, obesity rates in children have tripled in Canada.
“What the Heart and Stroke Foundation is calling for, and I agree with, is a ban on advertising of food and beverages to children under the age of 16,” Dr. Engler-Stringer said.
According to the report, research shows that 90 per cent of all food and beverage advertising to children is promoting unhealthy food, high in salt, sugar and fat.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation also commissioned a poll to determine how Canadians felt about advertising to children. Many parents felt as though the odds were stacked against them when it came to advertising, Dr. Engler-Stringer said.
A prime example of limiting food advertising to children is what’s currently happening in Quebec. In 1980, Quebec implemented a complete ban on advertising to children under the age of 13. As a result, Quebec children, particularly francophone children, have lower rates of fast food consumption as well as one of the lowest obesity rates in Canada.