An apple a day? Not in Ontario

Ontario kids' diets worse than 10 years ago

Compared to 1998, fewer Ontario children are eating the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables, according to a report released Wednesday by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. The minimum daily recommendation is five servings of fruits and vegetables. A decade ago, 20 per cent of children met that requirement, but the number has slipped to 13 per cent in 2009. That does not bode well for kids. “We now know that kids who are overweight or obese have higher than normal cholesterol levels for their age,” Dr. Marco Di Buono, Heart and Stroke’s director of research, explained. “Their arteries may be blocked to the same degree as adult males in their 50s, and their blood pressure is also not at a healthy level.”

But the problem won’t be easy to fix. The decline comes in spite of the province’s move to mandate nutrition labeling. It also follows a new, revised edition of Canada’s Food Guide. Moreover, almost 70 per cent of parents surveyed in the study said their kids go without certain kinds of food not because of ignorance about health or unwillingness to eat, but because of cost.