OTTAWA – Senator Nancy Greene Raine wants to switch off the ‘manipulative’ marketing of food and beverages to help cut down childhood obesity in Canada.
Senator Greene Raine introduced An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act in the Senate recently.
Her bill S-228, also known as the Child Health Protection Act, would prohibit the marketing of food and beverages to children under the age of 13 years.
“Everyone understands how impressionable children are,” the former world ski champion said. “When food and beverage companies aim their TV and online advertising messages directly at this young audience, it makes it hard for parents to do the right thing. We need to protect our children – it’s the responsible thing to do.”
Senator Greene Raine hopes a ban on marketing to kids will help reverse childhood obesity, which has become a serious national problem. Overweight children have an increased risk of serious health problems later in life, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, joint problems, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Obesity also affects children’s self-esteem and mental health.
Not only does obesity adversely affect the well-being of individual children it also takes a heavy toll on Canadian society, as a whole, due to the increased healthcare costs of treating obesity-related diseases.
The Child Health Protection Act would change the Food and Drugs Act’s labelling, packaging and advertising section, making it illegal to label, package or advertise any food or beverage “in a manner that is directed primarily at children.”