For over 60 years, the month of February has been known as heart month.
"Heart and Stroke has traditionally delivered a report on the health of Canadians during heart month and this year it is on how the food and beverage industry is marketing our children and youth to death. The sad punch line is our kids are not alright," stated Donna Hastings, CEO of Heart and Stroke Alberta.
Hastings reported that Heart and Stroke in Alberta recently conducted an independent survey.
"We learned that 77 per cent of Albertans believe that the food and beverage industry markets its products directly to children, 78 per cent of Albertans believe that food and beverages advertise unhealthy to children and 71 per cent believe that because the food and beverage companies spend so much money advertising to kids it really is an unfair advantage to the parents," outlined Hastings.
The average Alberta child watches about two hours of television a day. In that span, the children see four to five food and beverage ads per hour.
"We encourage during heart month for parents to get their children outside and active in the fresh air. On the food side, we know and have research that demonstrates good nutrition is one of the most important factors for overall health. Good habits do start early in life," explained Hastings.
There's a phrase that's been floating around lately, which reads 'this is not our grandparents advertising'.
"For those of us that are younger we remember sitting and watching TV on Saturday morning and having a cartoon character telling us about a good cereal we should try," Hastings mentioned. "This is marketing that is highly engineered and highly sophisticated to strongly influence children to pester and pressure their parents to buy unhealthy food."
The Heart and Stroke Foundation is committed to giving kids the best start for a long and healthy life.
"Restricting marketing to kids is one part of a whole plan to give them the healthy start and healthy habits in life," added Hastings.