Saturday, March 12, 2011

It's Time to Step Up the Fight Against Obesity: Ontario's Doctors

TORONTO, March 7, 2011 /CanadaNewsWire/ - March is national nutrition month and Ontario's doctors are sounding the alarm that obesity is an epidemic and are calling on provincial parties to commit to tackling childhood obesity in the next election. Not only do Ontario's doctors want action taken to fight obesity, but recent polling conducted for the Ontario Medical Association reveals that 65% of Ontarians believe investments should be made to combat childhood obesity

Obesity is a proven risk factor for a myriad of ailments and chronic diseases including hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease and kidney disease. The rise in these chronic diseases associated with obesity is putting increasing stress on Ontario's health care system. It is estimated that the health impacts of being overweight or obese costs the health system approximately $2.2 to $2.5 billion per year.

"The fact that we are raising a generation of children that may not outlive their parents should be enough incentive for political parties, doctors and other health care professionals to work together and take action to fight this growing problem." Mark MacLeod, MD, President of the Ontario Medical Association

A poor or unhealthy diet is not the only reason for the rise in obesity rates. A recent survey from Statistics Canada revealed a disappointing statistic that just seven per cent of children between five and 17 were getting the recommended hour of exercise per day.

Today, Ontario's doctors are urging provincial parties to adopt any of the following recommendations into their respective platforms for the upcoming provincial election.

Specifically, Ontario's doctors are calling for:

...Legislation that would require calorie contents to listed adjacent the items on menus and menu boards at chain restaurants and school cafeterias;

...An education campaign to help inform Ontarians about the impact of caloric intake on weight and obesity;

...The development of a childhood obesity strategy complete with targets and indicators; and

...Making physical activity/education mandatory throughout high school.

"Obesity is an epidemic that needs immediate action. Ontario's doctors see patients everyday who want to lose weight to improve their health, but don't have the basic information to make healthier food decisions. Caloric labelling on menus is a simple and effective way to help patients make better choices for their own health." Mark MacLeod, MD, President of the Ontario Medical Association

Quick Facts

...26 per cent of Canadian children between the ages of two and 17 are overweight or obese.

...75 per cent of obese children become obese adults.

...59 per cent of Canadians are considered overweight (36 per cent) or obese (23 per cent).

To review the complete list of recommendations made by Ontario's doctors in "Better care. Healthier patients. A stronger Ontario." visit

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