besity .In the year 2002 alone the Statistics of Canada expressed its alarm at the degrading health of its population. The survey was based upon the information regarding 130,000 people aged 12 and older and the levels of obesity were at an all time high with an overall decrease in physical activity.
"The survey found that between 1994-95 and 2000-01, the number of obese Canadians aged 20 to 64 grew by 24 per cent to almost 2.8 million. Increases in obesity rates were greatest among men and women aged between 45 and 54, who accounted for a quarter of all obese adults in Canada. Among children, nine per cent were considered obese. Another 20 per cent were considered overweight."1
To inquire into the reasons for these alarming statistics the survey reviewed the consumption trends within the population and found that " children and adolescents who reported eating fruits and vegetables five or more times a day were substantially less likely to be overweight or obese than those who consumed them less frequently. Forty-one per cent of children and adolescents reported they ate at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day."2
In the light of these changes, the institution of Health Canada announced that the Food Guide would receive a makeover to "address changes in eating patterns, food supply and diets, as well as advances in nutritional science." 3
The draft Food Guide was released in April 2006 with the draft recommending a daily number of servings of fruit and vegetables from a range of five-to-10 to four-to-eight. After a three year extensive revision the Food Guide 2007 looks very promising because it is based on extensive research.
" 6,000 people have used Health Canada's website to send recommendations about what should be in the guide and another 600 people submitted suggestions in person."4
The Guide is unique in every sense unlike its 1992 predecessor. It is targeted at specific groups like children, teens, women, men and the elderly. A new feature is that it also gives valuable advice on the health and nutrition for pre schoolers.In the light of research medical research the guide also advises people over the age group of 50 to take daily Vitamin D supplements (to avoid the increasing risks of osteoporosis).The 2007 guide is unique in the sense that it also provides guides for food portions in proportion to age and gender unlike its predecessor.
Other salient and novel features of this updated food guide include
Emphasis on a low sodium diet.
The use of fruit and vegetable in their fiber form instead of juice, as much as possible.
The increased use of healthy foods with omega three fats and avoiding cholesterol and trans-fats. It cites olive and canola oils as good sources of unsaturated fats such as olive and canola oils.
The guide gives interesting examples; for example
"having a stir-fry for dinner, one cup of mixed broccoli, carrot and sweet red pepper would give you two Vegetables and Fruit Food Guide servings, and 75 grams of chicken (or