Canada’s Government launches updated Food Guide

OTTAWA – Health Minister Tony Clement today launched the new 2007 version of Canada’s Food Guide — “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide” at the Real Canadian Superstore in Orleans, Ontario. The Honourable Christian Paradis, MP for M√©gantic–L’√Črable and Secretary of State (Agriculture), made a similar announcement at the IGA Extra in Gatineau, Quebec.

“Canada’s Food Guide has been providing Canadians with straightforward tips and messages on healthy eating for 65 years. Today, Canada’s New Government is proud to launch our new Food Guide. It provides the best, most current information available for eating well and living healthy,” said Minister Clement. “One important new feature of this Food Guide is that it now offers Canadians information on the amount and types of food recommended for their age and gender.”

“The Food Guide recommends a careful selection of foods balanced by physical activity,” said Dr. David Butler-Jones, Chief Public Health Officer for Canada. “By increasing their levels of physical activity, improving eating habits and achieving healthy weights, Canadians can help ensure good health and prevent many chronic diseases, including some cancers, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke.”

The new Food Guide was developed through widespread consultation with approximately 7,000 stakeholders including dietitians, scientists, physicians and public health personnel with an interest in health and chronic disease prevention.
“Canada’s Food Guide is an invaluable tool not only for Canadians but for all dietitians working with Canadians to promote health,” said Marsha Sharp, Chief Executive Officer of Dietitians of Canada.

For the first time, Canadians can find detailed information on the amount and types of food recommended for their age and gender. The new Food Guide encourages Canadians to focus on vegetables, fruit and whole grains, and to include milk, meat and their alternatives, and to limit foods that are high in calories, fat, sugar and salt. Health Canada is also now recommending a Vitamin D supplement for Canadians over the age of 50.
“Canada’s new Food Guide reinforces the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s messages to Canadians about the importance of consuming vegetables and fruit, limiting trans fats and combining a healthy diet with regular physical activity,” said the organization’s CEO, Sally Brown.

Given the growing concern about the rates of overweight and obesity among Canadians, providing advice on the portion sizes and the quality of food choices was a key consideration in the development of the Food Guide. The Food Guide also emphasizes the importance of combining regular physical activity with healthy eating. “The new Food Guide is an important tool that, along with exercise, can help many Canadians maintain a healthy body weight,” said Dr. Arya M. Sharma, Scientific Director of the Canadian Obesity Network.

Canadians now have a wealth of information available at their fingertips with an enhanced, interactive Web component. “My Food Guide” will help users personalize Food Guide information according to their age, sex and food preferences, and will also include more culturally relevant foods from a variety of ethnic cuisines. By this Spring, Canadians will be able to print “My Food Guide” in a number of different languages. Health Canada is also developing a specially tailored Food Guide for First Nations, Inuit and Metis people that will be released this Spring.

Canadians have relied on various versions of the Food Guide for nutrition advice since it was first published during the Second World War. Since 1942, it has been transformed many times — adopting new names, new looks, and new messages — but it has never wavered from its original purpose of guiding food selection and promoting nutritional health, using the best, most current information available.

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