Centre for Science in the Public Interest
Championing Public Health Nutrition

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Championing Public Health Nutrition is CSPI’s effort to convene first-rate experts, key policy-makers, insightful journalists, and health advocates from across Canada and around the world to scope-out a paradigm shift to help take Canadian policy-makers from aimless public hand-wringing, to implementing a set of sensible, concrete policy solutions. Attendees will examine proposals to strengthen school nutrition standards, nutrition information on labels and menus, food taxes, marketing to children, reformulating foods to minimize added salt and harmful fats, and much more.

Just some of the confirmed speakers for Championing Public Health Nutrition include:

  • NEW - Mr. Stephen Lewis, Professor in Global Health, Faculty of Social Sciences, McMaster University and former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa
  • Dr. Walter Willett, Chair, Department of Nutrition, and Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Ms. Leslie Beck, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Columnist for CTV/Globe and Mail
  • Rev. Dr. Mike Rayner, Director, British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group, Department of Public Health, University of Oxford
  • Dr. Wilbert Keon, Senator and Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Population Health
  • The Honourable Dr. Carolyn Bennett, PC, MP, Liberal Party Critic for Public Health, Seniors, Canadians with Disabilities and the Social Economy and former Minister of State for Public Health
  • Ms. Rosemary Hignett, Head of Nutrition, Food Standards Agency (UK)
  • Dr. David Katz, Director and Co-Founder of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center
  • Ms. Gail Goldstein, Deputy Director, Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Control Program, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Dr. Mary L’Abbé, Director, Bureau of Nutritional Science, Health Canada
  • Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Public Health
  • Mr. Tom Wappel, Former Member of Parliament, Scarborough Southwest
  • Dr. Mary L. McKenna, Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of New Brunswick, and Nutrition Consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO) on its Global Framework on School Health
  • Ms. Shari Graydon, Author of Made You Look – How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know, Director, Media Action, and former Press Secretary for, then Premier of British Columbia, the Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh

Join us October 22-23, 2008, in Ottawa, to help stimulate some solutions. Championing Public Health Nutrition is a "must-attend" for federal, provincial or municipal policy-makers, health researchers, health journalists, nutrition-promoters, child and health advocates, educators, and anyone concerned about the diets of Canadians!

Background: Diet-related chronic diseases may be the biggest avoidable threats to the health of Canadians and the sustainability of Medicare. Every year, diet-related heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers prematurely kill tens of thousands of Canadians, disable thousands more, and saddle the national economy with billions of dollars in health care costs and productivity losses. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Health even concluded that record high rates of childhood obesity alone may condemn this generation of children to live shorter, sicker lives than their parents.

Many Canadians consume too little fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, too much red and processed meat, processed foods with added salt and sugar, trans fat, saturated fat, and refined grains, and too many calories. Yet, government standards and industry practices for manufacturing, promoting, distributing, pricing, and taxing foods often serve to undermine sound-- even government-sponsored--dietary advice.

In recent years, the World Health Organization, federal and provincial ministers of health, and a growing legion of health charities (including the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada), and local health advocates have begun to turn the public’s attention toward preventing these major, preventable causes of death and disability. But, the pursuit of concrete policy solutions has been resisted by a stubborn, institutional preoccupation with the repair-shop model of health protection (treatment), disorganization within civil society and some sectors of the food industry selling healthy food, and widespread institutional inertia. Likewise, commercially-motivated resistance to change in some powerful quarters of the food and media industries, and a paucity of decisive high-level political leadership have also impeded reforms that could benefit all Canadians.

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