In a shocking new report released by the Standing Committee on Health in the House of Commons, the current obesity epidemic is creating the first generation of Canadians that will live shorter lives than their parents.
Currently, 26 percent of Canadians ages 2 to 17 are overweight or obese. Among 24 OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, Canada currently ranks 5th in terms of the highest childhood obesity rates.
The Commons health committee warns that the range of preventable chronic diseases and premature death caused by obesity will mean today's children may develop these ailments at an uncharacteristically early age.
Also shocking, is the rate at which obesity rates have changed over the past three decades. In 1978, only 15 percent of children were overweight or obese. The committee found that larger portions, more processed food and sugary drinks may be causing children to be overweight.
Here are some of the committee's recommendations:
- Set targets to achieve healthy weights for children through physical activity and healthy food choices, including halting the rise in obesity by 2010
- Help communities provide programs and facilities to promote active lifestyles
- Implement mandatory, standardized front-of-package labeling requirements for pre-packaged foods
Dietitians of Canada has applauded the report on childhood obesity because they state that it emphasizes the urgent need for tackling this complex problem.
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