N° 18 | February 2017

Perfect timing for a national fruit and vegetable nutrition policy


Although a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables is considered a cornerstone of good health,
Canadians are still consuming less than the 7-10 servings per day recommended in Canada’s
Food Guide. The studies featured this month illustrate how health behaviours in Canada are
effected by various interventions and policies. In fact, shopping frequency, awareness of
Canada’s Food Guide, and school based interventions are all methods we use to assess how
overall consumption is impacted by external variables.
In Minaker’s “Food shopping is associated with dietary outcomes in Ontario” she finds that
food store selection and BMI are correlated, and synthesized that their findings have potential
for relevant food intervention programs. Adding to this study, Drapeau examines how school
interventions have the potential to directly increase fruit and vegetable consumption among
children. Fernandez and Provencher’s article examines one of Health Canada’s developed
initiatives, Eat Well Campaign: Food Skills (EWC) which promotes family meal planning and
preparation. It examines the collaboration between partners from the food retail and health
sectors, industry and media and how they worked to leverage resources and expertise and
extend the reach and effectiveness of the EWC.
To this end, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA and the Canadian Public
Health Association) are calling on the federal government to establish a Government
of Canada policy statement supporting the goal of increasing the fruit and vegetable
consumption of Canadians by 20% by 2020. In fact, Canada is the only G7 country without
some form of national fruit and vegetable nutrition policy. This goes beyond Canada’s Food
Guide and into programs like CPMA’s Half Your Plate by providing Canadians with specific
resources to promote consumption at both the national and local level. The research in
this month’s newsletter is supporting evidence to move this policy forward, and strengthens
the argument of the importance of using intervention and other policy tools to increase
consumption across the population.

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