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Health Unit welcomes changes to Canada’s Food Guide

SIMCOE, ONT., FEB. 06, 2007 – The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is welcoming the new 2007 version of Canada’s Food Guide, “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide,” announced Monday by federal Health Minister Tony Clement.

“This is the first revision since 1992 and it reflects new insights and the latest research into healthy eating,” said Kathy Page, Public Health Dietitian, Population Health Team, Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. “We are encouraging people to visit the Health Canada website to view the new guide. Alternatively, Haldimand and Norfolk residents can leave their names with us at 519-426-6170 Ext. 3247 or 905-318-6623 Ext. 3247, to obtain a full-colour, fold-out copy of the guide as they become available.”

“In addition to recommending a careful selection of foods, the new guide promotes physical activity,” Page noted. “Increasing physical activity and improving eating habits are key components in maintaining a healthy weight and in warding off many chronic diseases such as some cancers, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.”

For the first time, the guide gives recommended servings for each food group based on age and gender. It also recommends the use of supplements, including Vitamin D for people over 50 and a multi-supplement with folic acid for all women who could become pregnant, or who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

“The new positioning of vegetables and fruits on the outermost arc of the guide’s rainbow design highlights the emphasis on the importance of this food group in health promotion and disease prevention,” Page pointed out. “I encourage residents to enjoy the abundance of fresh vegetables and fruit grown in our area.”

Guidance is also provided on the best choices within each food group. For example, Canadians are urged to enjoy foods prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt (sodium); choose vegetables and fruit more often than juice; make at least half of their grain products whole grain everyday; have meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu often; and drink lower-fat milk every day, or fortified soy beverages if they do not drink milk.

Other helpful hints include comparing the “nutrition facts” table on food labels to make wise choices; trimming the visible fat from meats; removing the skin on poultry; and if you eat luncheon meats, sausages or pre-packaged meats, choose those lower in salt and fat.

The guide provides advice on reducing the intake of saturated fats and trans fats. It recommends at least two servings per week of fish such as char, salmon, mackerel and sardines for variety as well as their omega-3 fats, which promote heart health.

The new information expands Canada’s Food Guide from two to six pages and allows for inclusion of daily tips to follow, such as eating breakfast, selecting healthier oils and fats, counting food-guide servings in a meal, and reducing salt and sugar.

Canadians have relied on various versions of the food guide for nutrition advice since it was first published in 1942. The most recent version was developed through widespread consultation with approximately 7,000 stakeholders, including dietitians, scientists, physicians and public health personnel, and reflects a growing concern over the rates of overweight and obesity among Canadians.

Media contact:

Kathy Page, RD,
Public Health Dietitian, Population Health Team,
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit,
519-426-6170 Ext. 3247 or 905-318-6623 Ext. 3247

or

Jill Steen,
Program Coordinator,
Population Health Team,
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit,
519-426-6170 Ext. 3238 or 905-318-6623 Ext. 3238