Too big an issue to tuck away

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We've known for some time that Canadians are becoming increasingly overweight. Will another study showing we're less fit encourage the collective will to address the problem?
A Canadian Health Measures Survey, from information collected between March 2007 and February 2009, found that nearly two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. One-quarter of children fit the same description.
Not surprisingly, that's being called a national health crisis - "crisis" a word used by Dr. Arya Sharma, scientific director of the Canadian Obesity Network, in responding to release of the data.
When does knowing there is a crisis turn into action?
People perhaps rightly resist notions of a nanny state where personal choices are concerned. But the reality is that some people make healthy food choices on their own - and some, simply, do not. Government mandating healthier products on store shelves, then, seems a logical option.
We're slowly seeing - usually by jurisdiction - laws focused on fat content in foods. This came about with growing concern over the dangerous amounts of transfats being used.
More recently health advocacy groups have spoken out about the high levels of salt in prepared foods, particularly in Canada. It wouldn't be difficult to alter that with regulations.
And considering young people are part of this scenario, it's obvious more education in schools is needed. Instilling better dietary habits at a young age is apparently in demand.
This is a critical issue and one in which honest appraisal is forthcoming. Honest criticism is used in other health issues, such as identifying smoking as a cause of premature aging and all sorts of health problems.
It's interesting: it's acceptable to say smoking is a fault. But it can be construed as harassment to make reference to someone's excessive weight.
We will find ourselves far short of conquering society's overweight problem unless we acknowledge it and discuss it thoroughly and openly.

Organizations: Canadian Obesity Network

Geographic location: Canada

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