Junk food ban in Ontario schools takes effect in September 2011!

Junk food, as the name implies, simply means it has no or very little food value. It is a known fact that we as a society are becoming overweight, out of shape and not physically active. These risk factors are now emerging in young individuals and children. And the only way to keep children away from junk foods is to make it difficult for them to get ready access to these types of food, particularly in school cafeterias.

Junk food, apart from not exercising, gives rise to a whole new breed of overweight children which is not a very healthy outlook.

The most recent statistics show that Canadian children are becoming obese.

Ontario fully realizes this and has taken a drastic step to ban junk food starting next year.

Ontario schools will no longer be able to buy candy, chocolates, pop, fries and energy drinks on school property.

The province has announced the ban will take place in September 2011. Bravo to the province. This is a major step in the right direction. In recent years, there have been cries from many medical institutions and from parents and health care workers to keep junk food away from everyone, particularly children. Ontario is to be congratulated for taking this bold and progressive step forward.

The intention here is to compel children to change their dietary habits and increase the daily intake of useful food like fruits, vegetables and certain varieties of nuts Obese children will eventually place a heavy burden on our escalating medical costs as these children grow up into adults. A number of Canadian provinces have already banned trans-fatty foods from school cafeterias and vending machines. Others are the same.

Trans fats, often found in french fries and other fast-food cafeteria staples, are being targeted around the globe by advocates of healthy eating.

Health officials continuously warn us that processed oils contribute to a host of health problems, including childhood obesity. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty argues that children today are not as healthy as they used to be.

These children, he added, are also not as active as they used to be and their diets are also not as healthy as they used to be. “We want to eliminate the sale of foods that contain trans fats from our cafeterias, and eliminate the sale of junk foods and foods that contain trans fats from our vending machines,” McGuinty said. Chocolate bars, potato chips and soft drinks have already been banned from Ontario’s elementary schools. The new legislation would enshrine that policy in law and eventually expand the junk food ban to include high schools. Government officials have also said school cafeterias will be required to follow the Canada Food Guide with their menus. McGuinty has also made it clear that ultimately parents are responsible for their children’s eating habits. The premier believes parents should be able to count on government as a partner in educating children about how to avoid unhealthy foods and make healthier choices.

The new legislation will not put an end to pizza days or an occasional chocolate bar. It is all about bringing some balance and moderation. This is the only way and also the right way to fight childhood obesity. Prince Edward Island and Alberta have a voluntary ban on trans fats.

British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador have policies to phase out the artery-clogging compounds, but have not introduced legislation. Canadians eat up to 10 grams of trans fats a day, one of the highest rates in the world. The bottom line is to save province money in future health costs.

Studies after studies show that 28 per cent of students, between two and 17, are overweight or obese. Obesity leads to all sorts of health problems like diabetes and heart diseases. Under the new provincial policy, foods with few or no essential nutrients or those that contain high volumes of fat, sugar or sodium will be banned from sale in all Ontario schools. Pop, chocolate bars, candy and fries will be among the casualties in cafeterias and vending machines.

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