Fighting Childhood Obesity

Obesity rates among Canadian children and youth have nearly tripled in the last 30 years.

Children and youth who are obese are likely to have weight issues into adulthood. They are also at higher risk of developing various physical and emotional health problems associated with obesity, including:

  • high blood pressure or heart disease
  • type-2 diabetes
  • sleep apnea and other breathing problems
  • bone and joint problems
  • low self-esteem and negative body image
  • depression
  • being teased or bullied

To help fight the battle against childhood obesity, over the past 12 years, six Canadian provinces have banned junk food from schools.

New Brunswick was the first province to ban junk food from its schools in October 2005, followed by Prince Edward Island later that year, Nova Scotia and Québec in 2007, British Columbia in 2008, and Ontario in 2011.

Recent research indicates that these junk food bans are helping in the battle against childhood obesity – there has been a slight decline in BMI for each year a student was exposed to a junk food ban.

But this is just one small step, as children are exposed to junk foods in many other settings throughout the day.

You can help fight childhood obesity by encouraging your children to eat healthy using the following tips:

Keep your fridge and cupboards stocked with healthy foods from all four food groups.

Ensure healthy foods are prepped, visible and easy to grab.

Be a role model for healthy eating – children are more likely to choose healthy foods when they see the adults around them eating healthy.

Eat meals together as a family as often as possible.

Involve children in grocery shopping and meal preparation.

Minimize the amount of junk food in your home – if it is not available, they can’t eat it.

Keep junk food out of sight – store it at the back of the fridge and cupboards.

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