Canadian Consumers Mislead by Confusing Food Labels, Want Improvements Issues go beyond Nutrition Facts table

May 21, 2015, 14:15 ET from Canadian Chair of Hypertension Prevention and Control

CALGARY, May 21, 2015 /CNW/ -  A recent survey has found that an increasing majority of Canadians want to see better labels on foods that go far beyond improvements to the Nutrition Facts table. The survey was conducted by Hypertension Canada and measured public support for a variety of diet-related issues that are responsible for 80 per cent of all hypertension cases.

More than four out of five Canadians support health warnings on unhealthy foods, legislated sodium reduction and subsidies on fresh fruits and vegetables. Still, the federal government lacks a food and nutrition strategy in spite of repeated calls for one by the public and Canada's leading health and scientific organizations[i], including the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

"The chronic disease crisis is unsustainable and largely preventable," says Dr. Norman Campbell, who has launched a campaign to get the government to make nutrition a priority. With a life's work devoted to chronic disease prevention, and backed by Canada's health and scientific heavyweights, Dr. Campbell hopes to get Canadians on board with his call to action.

"The food and beverage industry is big, but the cost of doing nothing is bigger," explains Dr. Campbell. The food processing and restaurant industries generate more than $164 billion[ii],[iii] in sales annually and employ nearly 1.5 million[iv] people. Meanwhile, the Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that chronic diseases cost Canada $190 billion[v] (nearly 10 per cent of GDP[vi]) annually and affect many millions more.

Dr. Campbell is calling on Canadians and their elected officials to pledge their support for making nutrition a priority at hypertensiontalk.com.

About Dr. Norman Campbell, C.M., HSFC/CIHR Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control

Dr. Campbell is a General Internist, Professor of Medicine, Community Health Sciences and Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Calgary and a member of the O'Brien Institute of Public Health and Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta at the University of Calgary.

Dr. Campbell is currently:

  • President of the World Hypertension League,
  • HSF CIHR Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control (2011-2016),
  • Chair of the Canadian Hypertension Advisory Committee (2012-2016),
  • Co-Chair of the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization Technical Advisory Group on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention through Dietary Salt Reduction,
  • Member of the World Health Organization Nutrition Advisory Group, Non Communicable Disease, (NutNCD group) (2012-2016), and
  • Co-chair of the vascular risk reduction program for the Alberta Health Services Strategic Clinical Networks. 

In the past, Dr. Campbell has been:

  • President of Blood Pressure Canada, (1996-1999 and 2006-2010),
  • President of the Canadian Hypertension Society (1999-2000),
  • Chair of the Steering Committee of the Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) (2000-2002, 2005-2010),
  • President of the Canadian Society for Clinical Pharmacology (2002-2004), and
  • Chair of the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization Regional Expert Group on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention through Dietary Salt Reduction (2009-2011).

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ENDNOTES

i View supporters of the Call for Healthy Food Policy Agenda as of the date of this release: http://www.hypertensiontalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Food-Policy-Supporters.pdf

ii Statistics Canada Business Register. June, 2012 (http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/industry-markets-and-trade/statistics-and-market-information/by-product-sector/processed-food-and-beverages/significance-of-the-food-and-beverage-processing-industry-in-canada/?id=1174563085690)

iii 2014 Canadian Chain Restaurant Industry Review (http://www.restaurantinvest.ca/site/restaurant_invest/assets/pdf/2014__canadian_chain_restaurant_industry_review.pdf)

iv Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey. 2013. (http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/Foodserviceindustrylabourforce.aspx)

v Public Health Agency of Canada. 2011. (http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/media/nr-rp/2011/2011_0919-bg-di-eng.php)

vi Statistics Canada. "Canada: Economic and Financial Data." Accessed May 13, 2015. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/dsbbcan-eng.htm

SOURCE Canadian Chair of Hypertension Prevention and Control