Education and Health Communique #2

December 07, 2016

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At this year’s annual national convention in Halifax, members adopted two resolutions tied to food and healthy eating. Members should be encouraged to take action to show the federal government how serious these issues are. They can take action for themselves as well by following the healthy plate method, reading provincial health magazines and signing up to receive information.

Resolutions
Resolution 2016.02 Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide requested the federal government to revise the food guide and to do so every five years (the last one was in 2007) based on scientific evidence, and to date the publication every time it is revised. While waiting for the updated version, expected to be published in late 2018, the current guide can still be used for some good suggestions for eating well and making healthy choices.

The food guide is available in many languages and there is also an aboriginal version. The guide may be accessed on the Health Canada website at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php. The Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion of Health Canada is currently reviewing the evidence base and has already had a consultation process. To receive information or participate in future consultations of various health topics go to the registry at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/public-consult/stakeholder-intervenants/index-eng.php. It is hoped that the new guide will be more user-friendly, easier to understand and more culturally sensitive.
Pulse Canada’s Vice-President of Food and Health Julianne Curran said the food guide is still an important document but has lost some of its clout. She would like to see pulses (dried peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas) in their own category because they are unique and have more fiber and less fat than meat and more protein than vegetables and grains. Nutritionists have determined that eating half a cup of pulses provides a meaningful amount of nutrition.

Aside from paying attention to serving sizes, encourage members to use the healthy plate method by filling half a plate with vegetables, adding a quarter starch and a quarter protein.

Resolution 2016.03 Warning Labels on Food and Drug Products for all Inactive Substances and Additives. On October 24, 2016 the minister of health launched the Healthy Eating Strategy for Canada. One of the intended outcomes is to help make the healthier food choice the easier choice. In order to achieve this, Health Canada is proposing to introduce front-of-package labelling requirements on prepackaged foods high in nutrients of public health concern (sodium, sugars and saturated fat). A front-of-package approach that highlights sodium, sugars and saturated fat may also encourage the food industry to reformulate foods to be lower in these nutrients.
Members can provide comments on Health Canada’s proposed front-of-package nutrition labelling approach by January 13, 2017. Spread the news about the front-of-package consultation to colleagues and other interested parties.

Annual Reports
When completing the annual reports please encourage councils to identify the ways they took action on these two resolutions.

Health Magazines
Members should also be encouraged to read their provincial health-related magazines. They are a great source in learning how to be healthy, well and informed.
Christmas Blessings

As Christmas draws nearer, may we prepare for the coming of the Lord in such a way to experience Him daily in faith, through scripture and sacraments and in one another. On behalf of the subcommittee chairpersons–Becky, Rita and Gabriele–and myself, we wish you and your families a Christmas season filled with the blessings of joy and peace and may they be with you throughout the coming year.

Fran