Health, News

Ontario Doctors Call For Strong Action To Help Children Maintain A Healthy Weight

Proposed food label from OMA
The Ontario Medical Association would like to see warning labels put on unhealthy foods. (The language on the package would probaby be different than this example.). Image: OMA

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) wants the government to put higher taxes on junk food.

Doctors say that higher costs would make it harder for children to buy junk food.

They also want high fat and sugary foods that have little nutritional value, to have more information and even warnings on the packaging.

And they want less junk food advertising, especially targeting children.

These are just three strong actions doctors say will help children eat less junk food, keep their weight at a healthy level and live a longer life.

The Ontario Medical Association said that over the years strong actions like extra taxes and scary pictures on cigarette packages have helped to reduce smoking from 50 per cent, in the 1960s, to as low as 20 per cent in Canada today. Doctors say this kind of action can help in the same way with junk food.

Doctors say that almost one child in every three weighs more than is healthy. Three-quarters of these children will hold on to that extra weight until they are adults. That will make them more likely to get a disease like diabetes or heart disease. And when they are older, the unhealthy extra weight is so much harder to take off.

“The time for gentle admonitions has come and gone,” said Dr. Doug Weir, president of the Ontario Medical Association, in a statement. “We need to fight this problem with proven tools like tax incentives and graphic warnings. There is an enormous body of evidence that these measures work.”

By Kathleen Tilly and Joyce Grant

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The OMA said obesity costs Ontario as much as $2.5 billion per year. What do you think that money is spent on?

Reading Prompt: Responding to and evaluating texts
Higher taxes and different packaging helps to reduce the number of people who smoke.

Do you think increasing taxes and changing junk food packages would help children to eat better? Why or why not?

Express personal opinions about ideas presented in texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Grammar Feature: Strong language
Read the warning on the package of french fries. What words on the package are strong and persuasive?

Think of a type of junk food. Design a package for that junk food that would prevent kids from wanting to eat it. Make sure you include strong and persuasive langauge.