Ontario Doctors Want Graphic Warnings on Junk Food Packaging

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Should pizza carry a warning label? Image courtesy of the Ontario Medical Association

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) recently called for urgent action against what they refer to as the “obesity epidemic.”

According to the group of the provinces’ doctors, almost one-third of Canadian children are either overweight or obese.

This is an increase from the 14 to 18 percent that physicians saw in the 1980s.

Experts estimate that three-quarters of these children will grow up to become overweight and obese adults.

And since the province covers most health care costs of its residents, it is estimated it will cost taxpayers between $2.2 and $2.5 billion annually to treat such ailments as diabetes and heart disease attributable to excess weight.

Junk Food Tax: OMA Recommendations

All the recommendations made were predictable; all except one – warning labels. The OMA is calling for higher taxes on junk food and a reduction of tax payable on what they deem less healthy food. The doctors are also recommending that advertising of sugary foods or foods with little or no nutritional value be restricted where it is aimed at children, and they are calling for these food products to be banned from sporting venues and other places where kids generally congregate.

Other recommendations include more education on healthy eating and making physical education mandatory throughout secondary school, but the recommendation that received the most attention was the call for junk food to be sold in the same manner as cigarettes and other tobacco products must be marketed in Canada. Basically, the OMA wants graphic warnings and pictures placed on pizza boxes, sugary drink containers, and other packages of ‘unhealthy’ food.

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