Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Food Guide Labeled "Obesogenic" by Someone Other Than Me!

Continuing with positive development week, yesterday through the magic of Google (disclosure - I own shares), I came across something that excited me very much.

It was an abstract that was presented at the Atlantic Networks for Prevention Research conference in St. John's Newfoundland last summer.

The conference was put on by some of the who's who in prevention in Canada including the CIHR.

So what was so exciting?

The abstract was entitled, Dietary intake, the new "CFG" and NS Youth and here it is in its entirety (some sections highlighted by me),

"Investigation by the Physical Activity and Dietary Intake of Children and Youth (PACY) research group reveals many Nova Scotia youth (males and females in grades 7 & 11) fail to meet minimum recommendations outlined by Health Canada in Canada’s Food Guide (CFG) to Healthy Eating (1992). The newly released food guide (2007) recommends an increased number of daily servings for youth for grain products, meat and alternatives and vegetables and fruit. The number of NS youth which don’t meet the new minimum recommendations has increased.

If strong education and messaging regarding the need to reduce intake levels from energy dense food sources isn’t implemented, the new guide may serve to further increase dietary intake in this population, rendering the new CFG more obesogenic for youth than the previous version.

Policy and programmatic implications will be discussed.
So why am I excited?

I'm excited because here is evidence that nutrition professionals are using critical thinking to analyze the impact of the Food Guide rather than simply accepting Health Canada's recommendations as sacrosanct. I'm also excited because here's a group of nutrition professionals focusing on the "energy-in" component of childhood obesity rather than futilely discussing "energy-out"

So for the score keepers out there, that's two prominent media friendly dietitians who have stated following the Food Guide leads to weight gain and here's 6 more University researchers and nutrition professionals who agree.

Oh, and me of course.

If I were in Vegas I'd be willing to bet there are going to be more.

Wanna know why?

Because our Food Guide's obesogenic, that's why; momentum coupled with evidence is hard to resist.

Kudos to all the involved researchers - Matthew Durant - Acadia University; Phil Campagne - Dalhousie University; Rene Murphy - Acadia University; Laurie Rehman - Dalhousie University; Angela Thompson - St. Francis Xavier University; Laurie Wadsworth - St. Francis Xavier University

[Interesting sidebar - the senior scientist involved in this analysis is Dr. Laurie Wadsworth who also happens to sit on Health Check's technical advisory committee. Here's hoping she takes her critical thinking approach and applies it to Health Check as well]