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Newsletter. Issue 2004-24. Nov. 27, 2004
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Health & Wellness

Ontario obesity reaches epidemic proportions Chief Medical Officer Of Health Recommends Action
http://www.health.gov.on.ca
TORONTO, Nov. 24 /CNW/ - Healthy, active living combined with sensible eating habits improves quality of life for everyone and reduces the risk of preventable diseases, Dr. Sheela Basrur, the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health, said today as she released a report entitled Healthy Weights, Healthy Lives. "I am alarmed to report that almost one out of every two adults in Ontario is overweight or obese," Dr. Basrur said. "Fortunately, this epidemic can be reversed. Through this report, I want people to understand how they can find the right balance in their lives, and how we can create the best environments - at work, school and in our communities - to promote physical activity and healthy eating."
In her report, Dr. Basrur states that: - Obesity among children ages seven to 13 tripled between 1981 and 1996 - Unhealthy weights are responsible for a dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes and contributes to heart disease, strokes, hypertension and some cancers - Obesity costs Canada's economy $2.7 billion and the health care system $1.6 billion in 2000/01.
Dr. Basrur's report outlines many factors - including individual, social, cultural, economic and environmental conditions - that have caused the obesity epidemic. The report makes recommendations to promote healthy weights, calling on all levels of government, the health sector, food industry, workplaces, schools, families and individuals to become part of a comprehensive, province- wide effort to eat better and exercise more.
"We know that healthy weights mean healthy lives," Dr. Basrur said. "People who are a healthy weight feel better, are less likely to develop diseases, and enjoy a higher quality of life. By acting now, we can reduce the risks associated with unhealthy weights, and reap the benefits for decades to come."

Poor jobs, modest social investments drive up child poverty in Canada
OTTAWA, Nov. 24 /CNW/ -
The child poverty rate in Canada is up for the first time since 1996. After five consecutive years of decline, the child poverty rate increased to 15.6 per cent in 2002, which means 1,065,000 children, or nearly 1 in 6 children in Canada, live in low income families.
Fifteen years after Parliament's unanimous all-party declaration to end child poverty, Campaign 2000's 2004 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada reveals that governments are failing to take sufficient action to reduce child poverty and low-wage labour markets are letting parents down.
"Despite continued economic growth and rising employment, the high rate of child and family poverty remains Canada's social deficit." said Laurel Rothman, National Coordinator of Campaign 2000. "This country needs a comprehensive, multi-year social investment strategy to break the back of child poverty. With consecutive multi-billion dollar budget surpluses, Canada
has the resources to make substantial progress and become a world leader on this front. We need the same determination to invest in early learning and child care services, affordable housing and an enhanced child benefit as was demonstrated in commitments to health care and equalization payments."
"Canada is faced with a huge opportunity to move from a patchwork of early learning and child care services to a framework of publicly-funded programs that are affordable and widely available for all children. This will be the most important social policy advance of the decade; to get it right, we need leadership from federal, provincial and territorial governments to ensure strong principles and sustained funding," said Marcel Lauzière, Canadian Council on Social Development.
"Poor jobs are a main source of child poverty in Canada. More than one out of four of Canada's low income children had at least one parent working full-time throughout 2002. Federal and s needed to ensure that jobs with living wages and enhanced child benefits together are a pathway out of poverty," added Andrew Jackson, Canadian Labour Congress.


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