Medical group pushes for health-warning labels, higher taxes on junk food
Published Tuesday, October 23, 2012 3:22PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, October 23, 2012 11:31PM CST
The Ontario Medical Association is advocating for health-warning labels on junk food, which would indicate foods that can cause conditions such as diabetes or liver disease.
“We need to treat obesity like the public health epidemic that it is and we need to apply the lessons learned from those anti-tobacco initiatives and use them to fight obesity,” said Dr. Doug Weir from the Ontario Medical Association.
Medical officials say one in three Canadian children is now overweight, with health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure on the rise.
Along with the warning labels, the OMA also wants higher taxes on junk food and restrictions on advertising to children.
“Those measures might seem harsh or heavy handed, but the fact is that they work in reducing smoking rates,” said Dr. Weir.
Dr. Grant MacDougall said he’s seeing more obese kids in Manitoba, requiring equipment such as a larger blood-pressure cuff.
“I have an extra, giant-sized cuff for really obese kids and I’m using it more often,” he said.
Parent Tracy Roberts said she always stresses the importance of active play and steers her kids away from junk food.
“We just don’t allow them to have it. The most they get is the probiotic candies,” she said.
She’s skeptical, however, that the proposed measures in Ontario will work.
“Could be kind of a waste of time,” she said.
With three quarters of obese children later becoming obese adults, doctors in Ontario feel it’s worth the effort to try the new ads and other measures.
In this province, a spokesperson for Manitoba Health Living said they’re always open to ideas encouraging Manitobans to eat healthier. While they will review the Ontario Medical Association’s recommendations, at this stage the Manitoba government does not have plans to implement something similar here.