A Prevention Agenda is Needed to Address Childhood Obesity

By Ted Bruce

An Ontario government report on childhood obesity has the potential to raise the bar for prevention efforts in BC. The report paints the same picture we know exists here in BC and was the subject of an all party committee of the BC legislature in 2006.

Obesity has huge health impacts on children and it is preventable. In spite of some commendable efforts as a result of BC’s report on childhood obesity 7 years ago we still do not see the all-of-government, well-funded prevention effort that is needed. What is important about the Ontario report is that it looks like there will be some serious action on a prevention agenda. The Ontario report calls for a new investment of $80 million dollars per year. They may sound like a lot but the report also points out that obesity is already costing Ontario $4.5 billion per year or about $313 per person each year. And the investment would only be 17% of the province’s health budget. The report also recognizes the key place that poverty plays in health inequities and calls for a speeding up of Ontario’s poverty reduction strategy.

It is time for BC to take a bold step towards increasing funding for prevention. It makes economic sense as well as a sure path to improving the health and well being of all of us. As is made clear in the Ontario report – the time is now.

Further Reading:

An Ounce of Prevention | Public Health Association of BC | 2012

No Time To Wait: The Healthy Kids Strategy  | Government of Ontario – Healthy Kids Panel | 2013

What is Physical “In”activity Costing British Columbia? | Government of British Columbia | 2011

A Strategy for Combatting Childhood Obesity and Physical Inactivity in British Columbia Report | Government of British Columbia – Select Standing Committee on Health | 2013