Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise again today to speak to my motion, Motion No. 319 regarding childhood nutrition. This motion is important to me, and I realize it is important to members from all corners of the House.
I want to thank the members who have participated in this debate, including the hon. members for Mississauga South, Don Valley East, Okanagan—Shuswap, Beauharnois—Salaberry, Halifax West, Beaches—East York, Etobicoke North.
The member for Vancouver Centre had a bit of an angry tinge in her speech and blamed the government for doing nothing. I thought that was pretty rich coming from a member who has been here for nearly 20 years. She had good statistics on the increase in childhood obesity. Unfortunately, she did not mention that the increase in childhood obesity happened mostly on her watch, especially as she is a physician.
Canada is facing this problem, which, over time, has become an epidemic. We can no longer turn a blind eye to it, but instead we must begin an open discussion on childhood obesity.
Over the past 25 years, rates of obesity and overweight have nearly tripled.
The reality is startling. Today, over one in four children in Canada is overweight or obese.
Children who are obese are at increased risk of being overweight or obese as adults.
Childhood obesity is now a challenge to the health of Canadians and the Canadian economy.
We know that childhood obesity increases the risk of chronic conditions, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer. We are seeing more and more of these chronic conditions in Canada and worldwide. Chronic disease has a devastating impact on individuals and families.
In addition, it is estimated that health care costs directly related to obesity are as high as $6 billion per year.
Reversing the trend is a complex challenge.
Several factors are at play and may be contributing to the increasing rate of overweight and obesity. For example, biological, behavioural, social, psychological, technical, environmental, economic and cultural factors may tip the balance toward obesity.
That is why many sectors of society have a role to play in promoting healthy weight.
As members can see, Motion No. 319 is about encouraging the promotion and maintenance of healthy weights for children and youth, building on Curbing Childhood Obesity, the federal-provincial-territorial framework for action to promote healthy weights. It encourages dialogue across sectors and also among individuals and organizations to address the factors that lead to obesity.
Engagement and collaboration are essential to mobilizing action to promote healthy weight, so they are fundamental to this motion.
It encourages the federal government to continue to promote healthy eating and active lifestyles as well as engagement and collaboration in the promotion of healthy weights. Our children need to live, learn and play in health-promoting and supportive environments where healthy choices are the easy choice. The federal government is on the right path. It has undertaken a number of significant initiatives in collaboration with others to promote and maintain healthy weights among children and youth.
I encourage all members to support this motion so that our children can live in a world where good health and good lifestyle habits are a priority.
I thank the hon. members on both sides of the House for supporting this motion.