Monday, September 20, 2010

Heart and Stroke still marketing for Boston Pizza

The love affair between the Heart and Stroke Foundation and and mega sponsor Boston Pizza, an affair that's spawned Valentine shaped pizzas, Jump Rope for Pizza and Health Check'ed awful restaurant fare, continues with the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Hoops for Heart campaign.

What's Hoops for Heart?

Hoops for Heart is a Heart and Stroke Foundation run, in school fundraising program, where students shoot basketball hoops in the school's gym to raise money to give to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Why does the Heart and Stroke Foundation think it's important to learn about heart health at a young age?

Well according to Hoops for Heart it's because,

"We know that healthy habits are developed early in life. By staying active now, maintaining a healthy body weight, and learning to make sensible choices, youth can help decrease their risk of future heart disease and stroke."
And what's a healthier habit than going out to eat in restaurants? They're great places to make sensible choices that help to maintain healthy body weights, right?

But of course the Heart and Stroke Foundation doesn't think food has much to do with childhood obesity. Just ask the Hoops for Hearts website,
"Why the increase in obesity? The main reason is a lack of physical activity"
Yeah, it's all about lack of exercise. I guess that's why the Heart and Stroke Foundation, by means of their Health Check program and coupons like these, has no qualms about discouraging actual cooking and encouraging the consumption of highly processed boxed foods and meals out.

And about those meals. I cracked out the calculator to have a peek at Boston Pizza. Here's what I found:

Use your $5 off coupon and share a starter, eat a main and split a dessert and you'll be downing on average 1,603 calories and 3,392mg of sodium. Oh, and the only beverage that breakdown includes is water.

If you happen to find one of the only 5 Health Check'ed items actually enticing enough to order in lieu of regular Boston Pizza fare but still split a starter and share a dessert you'll be quaffing 1,059 calories and 1,578mg of sodium. Water for you too.

The last time I slammed the Heart and Stroke Foundation for providing free kids meal coupons for participating in the Jump Rope for Heart campaign, Marco Di Buono, director of research for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, defended the practice by saying,
"Recognizing the number of meals outside the home that families do consume, we would much rather send them to an organization that has healthy options on the menu than leave them without any indication of where they can take their families for healthy eating opportunities"
You know, if the Heart and Stroke Foundation truly bought its leaders' spin, don't you think that at the very least they would ensure that their Boston Pizza coupons only be applicable towards those healthy options?

Of course the whole argument is flawed to begin with - can you imagine if the Canadian Cancer Society, recognizing the fact that many people still smoke provided everyone with coupons for light cigarettes?

Two of the primary drivers of both obesity and chronic disease are food dollars spent outside the home along with the consumption of highly processed foods inside the home. With their abhorrent and irresponsible Health Check program, rather than recognize the world as broken and try to fix it by encouraging (gasp) cooking, Health Check is happily duping Canadians into thinking that they can eat responsibly in restaurants and enjoy big box fulls of highly processed trash.

There's a word in Yiddish that does a fair job describing Health Check. Health Check's a "shanda" where the definition of "shanda" is a shameful, scandalous, disgrace. Only problem in regard to calling Health Check a shanda is that the word isn't strong enough.

(Speaking of shandas, did you know that Boston Pizza's seasonal vegetables which are an optional accompaniment for their "Famous Mains" have 830mg of sodium in them?)