Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario Legislative Building Queen's Park Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Wynne:
The Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA) congratulates your government on releasing new and revised Family Studies curriculum (including seven courses in Food and Nutrition) in September 2013. Excellent work!
Public Health Ontario reports that ‘nearly one third of children and youth are overweight or obese − conditions that can result in chronic diseases like Type II diabetes, cancer and heart disease.’Today,food skills are lacking as they are rarely taught in the home. Many families ‘eat out’ too regularly which can result in unhealthy choices, large serving sizes, over-consumption of sugar and sodium, under-consumption of vegetables and fruit and a strain on family budgets.
Your government set a goal to reduce childhood obesity by 20 % over five years. OHEA believes that prevention strategies start with nutrition and food skills education and practice.
OHEA has a plan to help - Improve food literacy through mandatory education!
By way ofthe petition comments, OHEA heard loud and clear from parents, educators, dietitians, producers, family doctors and the public about unacceptable, unhealthy eating habits and a need to prioritize the health of Ontario kids.
Ontario Family Studies & Home Economics Educators' Association (OFSHEEA) endorses the petition for mandatory food education in order to support the health and well-being of families in Ontario.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) prioritized food literacy in conjunction with The Local Food Act. What better place than the classroom to learn about food safety, food security, food labels, and the economical, nutritional and environmental benefits of Ontario food?
Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario, Ontario Council of Women, Dietitians of Canada and several medical doctors have called for mandatory food education to cut healthcare costs by reducing diet / life-style-related diseases.
Mandatory food education is directly in line with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long term Care report "No Time to Wait" calling for action to address health of mothers and children through food and nutrition. It also coincides with the National Food Strategy that calls for direct action through education to ensure the next generation develops the necessary skills to thrive.http://www.cfa-fca.ca/programs-projects/national-food-strategy
Food Banks claim that many of their clients refuse healthy produce because they lack the skills to prepare it. Quinoa, kale and white beans were cited.
Professional Home Economists know first-hand the benefits of eating wholesome, home-cooked meals. They work on front lines with families that don’t know how to cook from scratch, or what foods are local or how to plan a food budget.
Thanks to your government, Ontario has curriculum in place to improve that shortfall in education. However, not one Ontario food course is mandatory.
Food education for all students will help achieve the goal of a 20% reduction in obesity over 5 years.Every student should benefit from cooking skills – not just those who currently opt for a Family Studies food course.
Whether destined for university, college or the workplace, all grads must know how to put economical and nutritious meals on the table.
OHEA would like to meet with you in the near future to discuss how we can work together to build a healthier Ontario through mandatory food and nutrition education engaging qualified Family Studies teachers in every secondary school.
We will contact your office soon to establish a convenient time to meet.
Michele McAdoo, P.H.Ec. President – Ontario Home Economics Association – OHEA
Cc:Hon Liz Sandals - Minister of EducationHon Eric Hoskins - Minister of Health and Long Term CareHonJeff Leal - Minister of Agriculture, Food & Rural AffairsHon Elizabeth Dowdeswell - Lieutenant Governor of Ontario