Food Policy Councils

Food policy councils are voluntary bodies made up of stakeholders from across the food system collaborating to find practical solutions to the challenges presented by the food systems on a local and national level. The National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy published this briefing note conceived by Wendy Mendes to familiarize public health actors with the food system concerns and the contribution of the food policy councils in the formulation of healthy food policies.

The Influence of Economy-Based Agri-Food Policies on Diet and Weight: Synthesis Report

Obesity's increasing prevalence is of concern because of its impacts on the population health and its associated costs. To promote healthy public policies, this scientific advisory documents the influence of economy-based agri-food policies that can affect the population's diet and weight. To this end, the following economic measures are reviewed: agricultural subsidies, trade policies, agricultural research and development programs, agricultural promotion programs, agricultural initiatives to supply institutions such as agricultural surplus and Farm-to-School programs and, lastly, price interventions.

In light of the information compiled, this scientific advisory identifies three promising avenues for interventions to guide agri-food policies:

  • Increase the number of farmer's market offering fruits and vegetables, especially in disadvantaged areas
  • Develop processing policies that correspond to public health objectives
  • Develop school program…

Public Policies on Nutrition Labelling: Effects and Implementation Issues - A Knowledge Synthesis

We gathered data from the scientific and grey literature and from Canadian actors involved in addressing obesity to document the effectiveness of nutrition-labelling policies, as well as their unintended effects, equity, cost, feasibility, and acceptability. Presented here is a broad outline of the results.

The nutrition-labelling policies studied target pre-packaged foods or restaurant menus, and require them to display nutrition information either in a detailed format (Nutrition Facts table) or a simplified format (logos). These policies may make labelling mandatory or leave it optional but subject to guidelines with which companies must comply if they choose to display nutrition information on their products.

The intervention logic of labelling policies assumes that nutrition information will be read, that it will be understood, and that it will lead to healthier diets, both in terms of quantity and quality, which will help prevent obesity.

In practice, th…

Public Policies on Nutrition Labelling: Effects and Implementation Issues - A Knowledge Synthesis - Highlights

This document is a summary version of the report, Public Policies on Nutrition Labelling: Effects and Implementation Issues – A Knowledge Synthesis, produced by the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy (NCCHPP). For readers who would like to learn more about the knowledge synthesis method used as well as the knowledge gathered and the full bibliographic references, we invite you to consult the full report.

Nutrition labelling on pre-packaged foods and on restaurant menus is one of the public policies proposed to address obesity, a problem that is affecting a growing portion of the Canadian population and is associated with numerous health problems and high economic costs.

The St. Lawrence Food Guide

The goal of the St. Lawrence Food Guide is to communicate information on aquatic resources of the St. Lawrence. This guide concerns commercial species of fish, mollusk and crustacean from the St. Lawrence river, estuary and gulf which are sold in Québec' s supermarkets and fisheries. The food guide gives information on nutritional and organoleptic qualities of these species. Also, a delicious recipe, easy to prepare, is presented for each species.

The Impact of the Built Environment on Physical Activity, Diet, and Body Weight: Summary

The built environment has an influence on lifestyle and body weight

Physical activity is promoted through:

  • More walkable neighbourhoods
  • The presence of sidewalks, walking paths, and bike paths
  • A substantial presence of recreational and sports infrastructure including parks, pools, playgrounds, and sports clubs.

Healthy eating is promoted through:

  • Having easy access to food retailers that are located close to homes and that offer healthy foods at affordable prices.

The environment as the target of healthy public policy

Several health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), and Kino-Québec have identified the built environment as one of the targets for significant action to address weight-related problems in our societies and recommend:

  • Promoting active tr…

Geographical Indicators of the Built Environment and Services Environment Influencing Physical Activity, Diet and Body Weight

Background and Objective
Over the past few years, excess weight has become one of the most troubling public health problems. Globally, organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) have described the current situation as epidemic. Factors that can explain this trend are linked to complex interactions between individual characteristics and environmental aspects. The built environment and the services environment are elements that can influence individuals' behaviours, lifestyle habits and body weight. The main objective of this document is to analyze and present various indicators of the built environment and of the services environment. These indicators are constructed from a geographic information system and used in ecological studies that look at issues related to diet, physical activity and body weight.

We conducted a literature review of 56 studies, published between 2003 and 2009, using indicators develo…

Geographical analysis of the accessibility of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores around public schools in Québec

In Québec, nearly one in five children suffers from excess weight and the situation has greatly deteriorated over the past 25 years. This situation results from a large number of individual and environmental factors, including the food environment around schools. In the United States, a number of studies have documented the substantial presence of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores around schools. These types of food outlets are also more numerous around schools in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. In Québec, aside from the island of Montréal, not much is known about the food landscape around educational institutions or around schools in rural areas.


Ten- and fifteen-minute walking zones were defined around public schools in Québec (n = 2302). Fast-food restaurants (n = 1787) and convenience stores (n = 3446) included in these zones were selected using a business directory and names of business. Logistic regression an…

School Food Policies : A knowledge synthesis on the implementation process : Abstract

This abstract offers highlight of a knowledge synthesis on the implementation process for policies, programs or measures favourable to healthy eating in the schools. The data reported concerns schools at the elementary and secondary levels. The synthesis reveals a portrait of the favourable factors and obstacles to implementing school food policies, as well as describing a systematic approach to maximize the chances of success of this implementation. This knowledge will be useful to any individual or organization who wishes to contribute to the success of the Québec Framework Policy on Healthy Eating and Active Living, Going the healthy route at school (Québec, 2007).

This synthesis documents experiences of implementing policies, programs or measures to promote healthy eating in the schools in socio-economic and cultural contexts comparable to the situation in Canada. This data has been made accessible so that this knowledge can be applied within the Québec context.

Cree Health Survey 2003, Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 2.1, Iiyiyiu Aschi : Food habits, physical activity and body weight

The survey was conducted during the summer of 2003 using a representative sample of residents aged 12 and older from the nine communities in Iiyiyiu Aschii: Chisasibi, Eastmain, Mistissini, Nemaska, Oujé- Bougoumou, Waskaganish, Waswanipi, Wemindji, and Whapmagoostui.

Food habits

  • There is a relatively low proportion (21%) of residents 12 and over who eat fruits and vegetables at least 5 times a day, compared to 51% for the rest of Quebec. Furthermore, the consumption of fruits and vegetables decreases with age, among both men and women.
  • A rather high percentage of adults (18 and over) reported selecting or avoiding specific foods based on health concerns or nutritional value.
  • Furthermore, as noted among other populations, dietary choices tend to be based primarily on health concerns as Iiyiyiu Aschii residents get older.
  • A great many people were concerned with losing weight.
  • Slightly more than a quarter of the Iiyiyiu As…