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Calories on Menus - Health Care Bill

Author: ONTARIO MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

Published: 2010-03-29

Synopsis:

Main Digest

Obama's historic health care bill gives calorie counts to Americans, but what about Ontarians

US President Barack Obama's groundbreaking health care legislation includes a provision requiring restaurants to post calories on menus and menu boards. For the past year, Ontario's doctors have been calling for similar action from the government, chain restaurants and school cafeterias in the province and believe now is the perfect time for this initiative to be implemented.

"We know that childhood obesity is a growing epidemic across Ontario, with one quarter of children being overweight or obese," said Dr. Suzanne Strasberg, President of the Ontario Medical Association. "American parents will soon have access to the important information they need to make informed decisions about what their children eat and it's only fair that Ontario parents have the same opportunity."

Since Ontario's doctors first put out the call for calorie counts to be posted on menus and menu boards, over 35 municipalities and 3 school boards across the province have passed resolutions in support of menu labelling. To date, only the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board has posted calorie counts on the menus in their cafeterias.

Unfortunately, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association has not shown the same support as its American counterpart. In a news release issued on March 22nd, the National Restaurant Association said, "The passage of this provision (menu labelling) is a win for consumer and restaurateurs (and) we know the importance of providing consumers with the information they want and need..."

"It doesn't matter if it's a fast food place or a coffee shop in Little Rock, Arkansas, or Stratford, ON. Every chain restaurant in Ontario has the same capacity to post their calorie counts as their counterparts in the U.S.," said Dr. Strasberg. "It is certainly encouraging to know that the National Restaurant Association was supportive of this important initiative and we hope that the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association will show the same support."

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