Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy: A multi-pronged approach for tackling the growing burden of obesity and chronic disease by Dr. Alfred Aziz

Dr. Alfred Aziz, Director General, Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Health Canada, visited FAFS (January 9) and delivered the lecture: Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy: A multi-pronged approach for tackling the growing burden of obesity and chronic disease. Dr. Aziz provided an overview of Canada's healthy eating strategy and progress to date, focusing on the food guide: front-of-package labelling and restricting marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children.


Abstract: 

Canada faces an undeniable, growing social and economic burden of obesity and chronic disease. In light of the primary role of diet as a modifiable risk factor for obesity and chronic disease, and acknowledging that complex problems require multi-pronged solutions, Health Canada introduced in 2016, the Healthy Eating Strategy: a suite of policies that use legislation, regulation, guidance and education to improve the food environment and help make the healthier choice the easier choice. The Healthy Eating Strategy focuses on 4 main pillars: 1) provide better nutrition information through a revised food guide and improved food labelling, including front-of-package nutrition labelling; 2) improve the nutritional quality of the food supply through eliminating industrially-produced trans-fat and reducing sodium in processed foods; 3) protect children from the undue influence of marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages; and 4) improve access and affordability of nutritious perishable foods in Northern Canadian communities.

About the speaker:

Dr. Alfred Aziz holds a B.S (with distinction) and M.S. in Nutrition from AUB. He holds a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto, Canada. Aziz joined Health Canada in 2006, as postdoctoral fellow and then as a research scientist, where his research focused on the role of carbohydrates in the regulation of body weight and glycaemia. 

Aziz joined (2012) the Health Canada Science Management Development Program, a three-year assignment-based program for aspiring executives. He led various teams and projects in several parts of the organizations, including work on pediatric initiatives, medical marijuana reform, and risk management for drug compliance and enforcement programs. Appointed Chief of Nutrition Regulations and Standards Division (2014), he led the updates to Nutrition Labelling regulations and currently leads a multi-disciplinary team responsible for managing and integrating initiatives under the Healthy Eating Strategy. Dr. Aziz is also directly being responsible for leading the work on front of package labelling, sodium reduction and trans-fat elimination. In 2019, Aziz will assume the role of the Director General of the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the federal authority on dietary guidance, healthy eating policies and education. In this capacity, he will work with stakeholders, provinces, territories, and multilateral organizations such as the World Health Organization, to advance healthy eating policies in Canada and internationally.