Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why Health Check Might Soon Matter Even More

Hat tip to blog reader Paul who pointed me to a presentation made by Mr. Stephen Samis to the Canadian Council of Food and Nutrition on October 26th, 2007.

What frightened me about this presentation was the fact that in it the Heart and Stroke Foundation is clearly maneuvering to have the Health Check program become Canada's national front of package (FOP) labeling plan.

In his presentation Mr. Samis refers to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health who in their report on childhood obesity made the following recommendation to parliament this past March,

"The federal government should: Implement a mandatory, standardized, simple, front of package labelling requirement on pre-packaged foods for easy identification of nutritional value."
Mr. Samis goes on in his presentation to make the case for the Health Check to serve as that national FOP plan.

He outlines how market research has confirmed that:

  • 92% of Canadians support a standard FOP symbol run by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation is considered more trustworthy than Health Canada by Canadians

  • That 53% of Canadian dietitians recommend Health Check to clients.

  • That 64% of shoppers said they were more likely to purchase a food or beverage product with the Health Check symbol versus a competitive product.

  • That Health Check Consumer awareness has grown to an all time high of 73%.

  • Definitely strong figures to support the adoption of Health Check as our national FOP program.

    Question for the readers - in a nation where childhood and adult obesity rates are skyrocketing, where the World Health Organization estimates 1 in 9 Canadians will be diabetic by the year 2025, where cancer still remains a major killer, do we really want a national FOP program that promotes juice as a fruit, encourages the consumption of refined flours and free sugars, still insists that red meat is a healthy choice and beckons to our children from grocery store aisles using cartoon characters to promote unhealthy foods?

    Please feel free to write to Mr. Samis or Mr. Dean if you have any concerns. Simply click on their names and away you go.

    [Side note: The interviews from this Sunday are now available online.

    Click the player below to hear a taste with Mr. Dean and Dr. Dworkin discussing the merits of juice and Slush Puppies (if you're an email subscriber and the player doesn't work, just head over to the blog):

    To listen to Barry's entire interview with Mr. Samis and Mr. Dean from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, use this player:

    To listen to Dr. Dworkin interview me (the Health Check stuff starts a few minutes into my interview with him) use this player: