Healthy Menu Choices Act

Alex Pezzutto - 1B Nanotechnology
Posted on: January 14, 2017

If you’ve walked into a restaurant since the start of 2017, you might’ve noticed a lot more numbers in the menus of chain restaurants, and you can thank Ontario’s Healthy Menu Choices Act for that. This law has been in the works since 2014, but due to the meticulous nature of law making, it has finally been passed as of this year. Considering the obesity pandemic in our country, I’d say it was 20 years too late, but hey, better late then never, right? The objective of this law was to, of course, encourage people to eat more healthy food by making them more educated in regards to the calorie content of the foods they eat, and what better way to do that then having a giant sign letting you know how much of an idiot you are for ingesting a 1000 calorie burger with a billion grams of sodium? I can’t think of any better alternative!

So how much of an impact will such a law have? If we look to the U.S., then probably not much. U.S. Congress has already passed a law that required franchises with 20 or more restaurant chains to post calorie contents in their menus. Besides an initial drop in sales within the first 2 months of the law being passed, sales remained at their normal levels.

Why isn’t this working? Perhaps Americans can’t read? If the state of their education system is any indication, then that theory is a possibility. But as they say, old habits die hard, and if you’re really craving a Big Mac, a number beside its name probably won’t make you turn tail and go back to your car.

Canada spends $4.5 billion on obesity related issues annually. The problem is, only 5% of that money is spent on prevention. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment, and it is far less effective to spend thousands of dollars on medicine and hospital treatments, then it is to instill healthy eating habits from birth.

That’s not to say that the Healthy Menu Choices Act isn’t a good idea. However, there needs to be a paradigm shift in our current health expenditure, and consumers need to take more responsibility for the food that they buy.