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Ontario doctors call for calorie labelling on fast food and cafeteria menus




April 8, 2009, Toronto  – In a move to help combat obesity, Ontario's doctors
are calling for calorie counts to be shown prominently on chain restaurant and
school cafeteria menus and menu boards province-wide.



The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) says
that by revealing the caloric content of fast foods, consumers will be better
equipped with the information they need to make healthier choices.

"People lead busy lives and it's not
always convenient to prepare food at home," said Dr. Ken Arnold, President
of the OMA. "Ontario's doctors are not telling people what they can and
can't eat, but when you do eat out, you should know how many calories you are
consuming."

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The OMA wants to see:

-Early action on menu labelling from
leaders in the restaurant field.
-The provincial government enact legislation that would require calorie
contents to be listed adjacent to the items on menus and menu boards at chain
restaurants and school cafeterias across the province.
-An education campaign to help inform Ontarians about the impact of caloric
intake on weight gain and obesity.

   The
OMA is focussing on labelling calories due to common misconceptions surrounding
the caloric content of many chain restaurant meals. An OMA policy paper
entitled An Ounce of Prevention or a Ton of Trouble shows that most people
consume more food than they are aware of and that they do not keep track of
caloric intake.

"We're hoping that when consumers see
calories posted while ordering they may choose to order something lower in
calories, or eat higher calorie meals less often," said Dr. Yoni
Freedhoff, Medical Director at the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa.

A new OMA report, Treatment of Childhood
Overweight and Obesity, highlights the increasing epidemic of childhood obesity
and the need for action. It shows that:

-A quarter of children are overweight or
obese, almost half are inactive and television and computer screen time is
their pastime of choice.
-There is evidence linking type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, non-alcoholic fatty
liver disease, certain types of sleep apnea and the development of chronic
kidney disease later in life to children who are overweight or obese.
-Over 75% of obese children become obese adults.
-Overall, the health impacts of overweight and obesity are estimated to cost
Ontario $2.2 to $2.5 billion per year.