I’ve come back from Canada with a spring in my step and an enthusiasm for what might just be a major turning point in public health. Canada has the potential to become a world leader in the fight against obesity and diet-related disease, if they get it right.
Everyone talks about personal responsibility – the food industry prefers it that way. But, if we are to halt the 30-year rise of ill health, early mortality and excessive costs to the health care systems (and economies) of countries around the world, then we have to acknowledge that we need a joined-up environmental change. We need a shift so that everything in our lives makes it that little bit easier for us to make better choices, between good and bad, not just bad and bad. It’s about giving us genuine choices and clarity about what and how we eat, so that we can make informed decisions.
For this to happen, we also need a world leader to bring all elements of government together. We need someone to be strong and clear about exactly how every department, every business and every person can contribute to this change. That said, this leader also needs to be liked, needs to have charisma, be respected, and be strong enough to dig their heels in and get important issues over the line. They also need to be flexible and human enough to listen, and be open to learning from experts in different communities across the country. Cue, Prime Minister Trudeau!
I believe the best chance of this happening anywhere, right now, is in Canada. Everything is perfectly aligned, Mr. Trudeau is on board and I know the public are ready for it. Canada is a great country with such a lot to give and even more to to gain if this works out. If we can communicate and share these ideas, from the highest level right down to the individual in any suburb in any country then we might genuinely be able to halt obesity and avoidable diet-related disease. This could be the moment we make people fitter, healthier and happier again. No pressure, Canada.
Putting child health at the centre of all government departments is not a luxury nor is it nice-to-have – it’s actually a country’s best opportunity to build an economically stable future and to invest in the life-skills that allow a country to flourish. Prime Minister Trudeau and Canada could be the game-changers we need, and I really hope that’s the case.
Let’s all support Canada and Mr. Trudeau in this #foodrevolution! As always, keep checking the site for updates.
Jamie O x