Healthy Eating

61% of British Columbian children aged 12-18 do not eat the minimum recommendation of five daily servings of vegetables and fruit.

Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is critical for chronic disease prevention and promoting health and wellness for all British Columbians. A healthy diet protects against numerous chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

When it comes to healthy eating, it’s easy to be confused by the barrage of misinformation out there. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are three easy rules for healthy eating:

  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit.
  • Eat real food – that is, freshly prepared with basic ingredients (ideally, cooked at home).
  • Minimize consumption of processed foods and drinks.

But not everyone is able to make healthy choices, however. According to our research, a third of British Columbians say that healthy food is unaffordable. Half of the people from low-income backgrounds and 64% of Indigenous people say it’s difficult to pay for healthy basics like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and proteins. [i]

BCAHL continues to advance policies which can help people across BC to eat, drink and live healthier. Below is a list of the policies we currently promote:

  • The provincial government can coordinate actions to improve access to healthy food and food skills.
  • Recognize First Nations interests with respect to stewardship and access to lands and waters from which traditional diets are sustained.
  • Support Indigenous food sovereignty, including initiatives to build and protect food security and cultural food practices.
  • Provide resources and capacity building opportunities that assist First Nations to farm available arable land on reserve.
  • Work to address provincial regulations that limit the use of traditional foods in Indigenous schools, childcare and elders’ facilities.
  • Adjust Income Assistance and Disability Assistance to support rates to account for the actual cost of fresh and healthy food.
  • Establish a Universal Healthy School Food program with secure long-term funding.
  • Make grant funding available for remote and rural communities to address foo access challenges and support local innovation and food security.
  • Increase funding to expand and scale up successful health promotion initiatives that promote healthy eating such as Food Skills for Families, the Farmers Market Nutrition Coupon program, Generation Health, Appetite to Play and prenatal and family programs that support healthy pregnancies, breastfeeding and early childhood development.
  • Extend the provincial sales tax to all non-carbonated sugary drinks and work with Federal/Provincial/Territorial partners to introduce a federal excise tax of at least 20% on all sugar sweetened beverages.
  • Increase information on options by requiring nutritional labeling on the menus of large-scale restaurant chains in BC.
  • Ensure all lands with the highest capability of agricultural production are captured within the Agricultural Land Reserve and are used for what they were intended.
  • Provide incentives to encourage local agricultural production and marketing (e.g. family farms, community gardens, farmers markets, BuyBC programs) and apply disincentives for those using agricultural land for residential use only.
  • Review agricultural policies with input from small scale producers to ensure that policies promote local food production and direct purchasing from consumers.

 References:

[i] BC Alliance for healthy Living. A Healthier Recovery for BC. 2022. https://www.bchealthyliving.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/21-11-15-Healthy-Recovery-FINAL.pdf

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