The Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA) would like to thank you for using your passion, skills, knowledge and influence to fight for compulsory food education in schools around the world. Your Sign It, Share It campaign is generating outstanding attention and support and will help to escalate this global issue.
We completely agree that it is essential that we arm future generations with the life skills they urgently need in order to lead healthier, happier, more productive lives. We too are fighting for “compulsory food education in schools” in Ontario, Canada. Much like your effort, in July 2014, OHEA created an on-line petition to generate support for the cause.
OHEA is a group of diverse and passionate Professional Home Economists. Many OHEA members are the very instructors of food and nutrition courses offered through Family Studies curriculum in Ontario schools. Our concern lies in the fact, that such courses are elective – not mandatory for all.
OHEA has heard loud and clear from parents, educators, dietitians, food producers, family doctors and the public about unacceptable, unhealthy eating habits and a need to enhance and prioritize the health of our youth.
It has been reported that nearly one third of Canadian children and youth are overweight or obese – potentially leading to conditions such as chronic diseases like Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We agree that something needs to be done to rectify these alarming statistics.
It has also been reported that only half of Ontario youth consume the recommended number of fruit and vegetable servings in a day, while sugar-sweetened beverages make up a high portion of calories consumed by children and youth. The school bus you filled with 57 tons of sand, representing the amount of sugar kids in the Los Angeles Unified School District consume from flavoured milk in a single week, comes to mind.
Today, food skills are rarely taught in the home. Processed foods are very accessible and many families ‘eat out’ too regularly which can result in unhealthy choices, large serving sizes, over-consumption of sugar and sodium, under-consumption of fruit and vegetables and a strain on family budgets. We agree that families need to be inspired to cook again.
It’s no surprise that studies have cited gaps and deficits in Canadians’ knowledge and skills related to food and nutrition. We are very thankful that our Ontario secondary school curriculum includes seven optional food and nutrition courses, but unfortunately, because not one of them is mandatory, many students miss out on the opportunity to learn food-related life skills.
In 2012, the Ontario government set a goal to reduce childhood obesity by 20% over five years. Mandatory food education would contribute to reaching this goal. Every student would benefit from enhanced food skills and nutrition knowledge.
We have shared your petition with OHEA members and friends with excitement and pride. We are committed to working together to arm future generations with the life skills required to lead healthier, happier, more productive lives.
Jamie - please consider signing and sharing our petition as well!
Wishing you much success with this excellent campaign,
Allison Jorgens, P.H.Ec.
Professional Home Economist
Twitter - @AllisonPHEc
Ontario Home Economics Association