# Monday, December 10, 2007

Trans Fats To Be Removed From Ontario Schools

The provincial government is introducing legislation to ban all foods that contain trans fat from all Ontario schools. This includes all primary and secondary school cafeterias as well as vending machines on school property. This legislation will hopefully have a positive effect on the health status of Ontario students.

Currently, the sale of chocolate, soda, and potato chips have been banned from elementary schools across the province. The Ontario Liberal Party wants this ban to be law and extended to high schools as well. Schools will still be able to have special days such as "pizza day", but the daily menu will be free of trans fats. Other provinces are introducing similar legislation. Canadians currently consume up to 10 grams of fat per day, one of the highest rates in the world.

Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the past 25 years in Canada. McGuinty wants to partner with parents in ensuring that children have a healthier diet. By educating children on nutrition, and helping them make better food choices, the obesity rate can theoretically be reduced. McGuinty says that it's not about eliminating junk food completely, but about learning about moderation and balance. Hopefully by learning about healthy choices as children, they will carry this knowledge into adulthood.

Childhood obesity greatly raises the risk of being obese in adulthood. Obesity in Canada now causes almost as many serious health problems as smoking. People who are obese are at a much greater risk of developing such diseases as hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease and gallbladder disease. They are also at risk for having strokes, osteoporosis, sleep apnea and certain forms of cancer. Obesity can also contribute to mental health issues like low self esteem and depression.

As with smoking, obese people are at risk of paying higher health and life insurance premiums. Therefore, an obese child who grows up to be an obese adult will probably have to pay significantly more for coverage. For children and adults, consult with your doctor (or pediatrician) about a safe way to lose weight and become healthier. Health Canada has some great information for families to increase their activity level and adopt a more health lifestyle.

Remember to consult with your health insurance broker after losing the weight. Once you are in better health, you may be eligible for a reduction in your premiums!

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