Friday, April 27, 2007


The obesity risk of children increases for each additional glass of sugar-sweetened drink consumed each day.

Shoppers Drug Mart recently complained to Longwoods because we drew attention to one store’s multiple displays of thousands of cases of pop and row after row and promo after promo of super sized chocolate bars, other sweets and deep fried treats. Their representative wrote that we failed to make “the point about personal choice and individual responsibility for the choices we make as consumers and the impact that has on our health.” The correspondence also provides this quote: “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Robert Collier.

So we would like to continue our small efforts in bringing to their attention the importance of nutrition in our lives – something we would hope would be promoted by a DRUG MART. The following is from the International Diabetes Federation.

Fight Obesity Prevent Diabetes


1. A third of the global burden of disease is probably the result of dietary factors.
2. People who are undernourished in early life and then become obese in adulthood are at a greater risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes at an earlier age.
3. The average family spends 15 minutes preparing meals compared to two hours a few years ago.
4. The obesity risk of children increases for each additional glass of sugar-sweetened drink consumed each day.
5. People with diabetes should eat more fibre than people without the condition. Fibre helps prevent stomach problems and lower cholesterol.
6. Low energy diets are the most likely to lead to healthy eating habits and effective weight maintenance.
7. Eating while doing something else can often lead to overeating and thus increase the chances of becoming obese.
8. Reducing malnutrition in pregnant women can prevent their children from becoming overweight later in life and ease the burden of obesity.
9. Diet alone is not considered sufficient for sustained weight loss and needs to be coupled with exercise and a structured eating plan.

1. Diabetes and Obesity: Time to Act; International Diabetes Federation 2004
2. Overfed and Underfed: The Global Epidemic of Malnutrition; Worldwatch Paper 150, Worldwatch Institute 2000
3. WHO World Heath Report 2002; World Health Organization 2002

And from a papers by David L. Mowat and David Butler-Jones:

“Current trends, such as an increasing prevalence of obesity (36% of adults are overweight and 23% obese), lack of physical activity (55% of Canadians are not physically active or moderately active [Statistics Canada 2004]) and a rapidly increasing incidence of type 2 diabetes, might well halt or even reverse progress in life expectancy, and certainly pose a threat to the sustainability of the health services system. Tackling these problems solely by curative means or even individually-based preventive approaches is neither affordable nor feasible. Vigorous population-based approaches are essential if these trends are to be reversed.”

See: Healthcare Papers

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Health Council of Canada addresses diabetes. We are reminded . . .

“The way we provide health care today leaves too many people vulnerable to serious health problems that could be avoided, “ said Dr. Ian Bowmer, Vice Chair of the Health Council of Canada. “If we don’t support prevention and change the way we deliver care for chronic health conditions, we are not optimizing care and are putting the quality of life of Canadians at risk.”

. . . . type 2 diabetes affects at least 1.3 million Canadians, plus hundreds of thousands more are unaware that they have the condition. Type 2 diabetes is also a largely preventable disease that is becoming increasingly prevalent among children and adults throughout the country, because of changes in eating and exercise habits that increase the risk of developing this disease.

Three-quarters of the people who live with diabetes also have other chronic health conditions, the Health Council found. Many suffer the serious complications typical of diabetes, such as heart disease, kidney damage, depression, loss of vision, and poor circulation which can lead to amputations. But with the right kind of health care, these health problems – which reduce the quality of life for people with diabetes and drive up the cost of their health care – can be forestalled or prevented, the report concludes.

Screening programs and community initiatives to help people better manage diet and lifestyle choices can have a major impact on preventing or delaying the onset of disease, but we need to take action now, to stem the rising tide of diabetes and related chronic health conditions.

“The lesson is clear. People with diabetes will need less intensive, less expensive, health care in the future, if they get the right care now,” said Dr. Stanley Vollant, a Councillor with the Health Council of Canada. “The way we provide care now is piecemeal and out-of-date. By changing how the health system works, we can improve the well-being of Canadians and make the health care system more sustainable. Canada can do better."

“It took a generation of hard work to see a real reduction in the number of Canadians who smoke,” said Dr. Bowmer. “We have to do the same for healthy eating and exercise to prevent chronic health conditions like diabetes. But we have to do it faster.”
See: Health Council of Canada

Shoppers Drug Mart* and other retail healthcare provider organizations should take note!
They can make a difference by discouraging sugar coated, fat laden foodstuffs often offered for “the convenience of our customers”.

Shoppers Drug Mart’s annual report tells readers that the company has captured a significant share of the market in front store merchandise, including over-the-counter medications, health and beauty aids, cosmetics and fragrances, seasonal products and everyday household essentials. They fail to mention that some stores have created a very large category (as many as eight aisle-length shelves) of super-sized chocolate bars, potato chip bags and multiple skids of pop – each holding up to 400 cases of the stuff at very affordable prices. It is difficult to see how this squares with their statement: “So we’re doing everything we can to help you keep healthy.” (The Publisher)