Children’s Health and Nutrition Initiative

Child mixes shredded carrots in a bowl.

2007 - Children’s Health and Nutrition Initiative

A Proposal to Make Safe and Healthy Food Available to All of Canada’s Children

The Initiative was launched on January 17, 2007 to build a broad-based coalition of diverse stakeholders passionate about Canada becoming a world leader in making safe and healthy food available to all children and reshaping social, cultural, economic and environmental influences to optimally support child health.Founding supporters include Olivia Chow, MP (Trinity-Spadina), Breakfast for Learning, FoodShare and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.As a first step, the Initiative called for a nutritious breakfast, snack or lunch to be available to any Canadian child under eighteen years of age in the form of nutritious food programs. This would be based on a flexible made-in-Canada community development model building on the existing knowledge base of local organizations and parent groups.Funding support would be provided by the Federal government to expand pre-existing programs and build efforts in parts of Canada where independent programs aren’t in place. Programs would be created and managed locally by parents, educators, public health and local government representatives to meet the needs of local children and families. The Federal government will be required to develop national program standards for healthy foods, with an emphasis on nutrition education, cooking and growing skills, and inclusion of locally and sustainably sourced foods. Long-term monitoring and evaluation of standards and implementation will also be critical.The second component of the Initiative called for innovative ways to protect children from manipulative marketing messages that encourage poor nutritional habits, relying on the best examples from other jurisdictions. For example, all commercial advertising directed at children under the age of 13 years has been prohibited by the Consumer Protection Act in Quebec since 1980.

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