Breaking technology’s pernicious grip on our children

The formative years with our children only come once. When we make them the highest priorities in our lives, we give them the message that they’re worthwhile

Breaking technology’s pernicious grip on our childrenTechnology is everywhere. But is it all good for us and – particularly – is it good for our children? The last 50 years have seen tremendous technological advancement. The 1960s television comedy Get Smart featured a mobile phone that the main character wore in his shoe. We laughed because it seemed impossible. Today, 95…

Junk food ads bombard teens, putting them at risk

Proposed restrictions on food and beverage advertising to kids should include youth up to age 16. We need to give healthy eating habits a fighting chance

Junk food ads bombard teens, putting them at riskWe shield our children and young teenagers from many things: overt portrayals of sex and violence on TV and in movies, drinking alcohol, smoking, owning guns and signing contracts, to name a few. The reasons are sound: we hope to keep our youth from physical and psychological harm, prevent them from falling into bad habits…

The importance of unstructured recess

By organizing activities at recess, or replacing recess with more classroom studies, educators are doing a horrible disservice to children

The importance of unstructured recessEducators like to focus on the three Rs – reading, writing, arithmetic – but pediatricians say we should add a fourth R of equal importance: recess. Recess has long been thought of simply as a break in the day. Kids let off steam and then return to the classroom with renewed focus and resolution. Framed…

Health Canada may be biting off more than it can chew

Health Canada recently announced that it will completely overhaul its food labelling regulations – and replace its iconic food guide

Health Canada may be biting off more than it can chewShould Canadians' food choices be a matter for bureaucrats and legislators to decide, or should it ultimately be left up to consumers? Health Canada recently announced that it will completely overhaul its food labelling regulations – and replace its iconic food guide. Protecting children and encouraging healthy lifestyles seem to be at the core of this initiative, which…

Can McDonald’s Happy Meal find a healthy balance?

An interesting idea to encourage children to get in shape in the wake of the Olympics completely backfired for the fast-food giant

Can McDonald’s Happy Meal find a healthy balance?Despite the wonderful athletic performances at the Olympics – including Canada's many medals – the big winner in Rio was certainly the International Olympic Committee (IOC), through its mega sponsorship deals. Over the years, well-known companies such as Coke and Kellogg’s have poured millions into the IOC. But the biggest name in food at the…

A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages not the answer to obesity

To tackle obesity in Canada, we need strategies that offer health education and support, not another tax on the poor

A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages not the answer to obesityA 'pop tax' is hardly a simple solution to the rising problem of obesity in Canada, despite the chorus of support. A recent Senate report on obesity in Canada recommends a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages be examined and points to tobacco product taxes as a successful example worth imitating. But have taxes on tobacco products been as…

Feds need to take leadership role on rising obesity rates

Ban advertising of unhealthy foods to kids, tax sugary drinks, revamp food guide, prohibit use of trans fats

Feds need to take leadership role on rising obesity ratesObesity rates are dangerously high in Canada. Almost two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, according to Statistics Canada – a dramatic increase over the last 30 plus years. As well, around 13 per cent of Canadian children between the ages of five and 17 are obese and 20 per cent are considered overweight. The number…

Sugar-coating the truth about soft drink taxes

Canada has an intake issue, but we need a broad labeling initiative, not specific consumption taxes

Sugar-coating the truth about soft drink taxesA study suggesting direct links between a tax on sweetened soft drinks in Mexico and lower consumption is forcefully disputed by the soda industry. It also deflects focus from broader health issues, and better solutions, in Canada and elsewhere. Beverage companies no doubt fear that Mexico could become a trendsetter for other nations, including Canada. For decades,…

5 things every Canadian should know about obesity

Successful obesity management requires realistic and sustainable treatment strategies

5 things every Canadian should know about obesityThere has been a dramatic increase in the number of Canadians living with obesity over the past few decades, and it is often cited as a risk factor for other chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer. This means that while obesity is frequently a hot topic…

Most Canadians don’t understand food nutrition labels

How simplifying and standardizing food labels can help with better food choices

Most Canadians don’t understand food nutrition labelsWith January coming to an end, those of us who vowed to eat better in 2015 have probably already given up. That’s not surprising, considering that most people grossly underestimate both the amount of calories they consume, and their fat, salt and sugar consumption, even after consulting nutrition labels. According to Statistics Canada, half of…