Advertisement

Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 109, Issue 4, pp 498–505 | Cite as

Are young Canadians supportive of proposed nutrition policies and regulations? An overview of policy support and the impact of socio-demographic factors on public opinion

  • Jasmin Bhawra
  • Jessica L. Reid
  • Christine M. White
  • Lana Vanderlee
  • Kim Raine
  • David Hammond
Quantitative Research

Abstract

Objectives

Many countries, including Canada, are considering nutrition policies that seek to improve dietary behaviour and related health outcomes. The current study examined support for policy measures among youth and young adults in Canada.

Methods

Participants aged 16–30 years were recruited for online surveys using in-person intercept sampling in five Canadian cities as part of the Canada Food Study conducted in October–December, 2016 (n = 2729). Items included support for 21 specific policies in seven key areas: menu labelling, food package symbols and warnings, school policies, taxation and subsidies, zoning restrictions, marketing bans, and food formulation. Linear regression models examined support by age, sex, city, race/ethnicity, parental status, body mass index (BMI), and health literacy.

Results

Very high levels of support were observed for menu labelling in restaurants and schools, as well as food package symbols and warnings. Taxation, zoning restrictions (e.g., fast food and convenience stores near schools), and bans on marketing to children received relatively lower levels of support. In general, policy support increased with age for all 21 policies (p < 0.01) and greater health literacy for 4 policies (p < 0.05). Males were less supportive than females for 5 policies (p < 0.01). There were significant differences in support for specific race/ethnicity groups for 4 policies (p < 0.05). Support for menu labelling policies increased with BMI (p < 0.05).

Conclusion

Overall, youth and young adults in Canada reported high levels of support for menu labelling, food package symbols/warnings, and school policies. Levels of support were generally consistent across socio-demographic subgroups, with some exceptions.

Keywords

Nutrition policy Policy support Public opinion Canada 

Résumé

Objectifs

De nombreux pays, dont le Canada, envisagent des politiques nutritionnelles pour améliorer les comportements alimentaires et les résultats de santé qui y sont liés. Notre étude porte sur l’appui des jeunes et des jeunes adultes canadiens aux mesures envisagées par les pouvoirs publics.

Méthode

Des participants de 16 à 30 ans (n = 2729) ont été recrutés pour des sondages en ligne par échantillonnage sur place dans cinq villes canadiennes dans le cadre de l’Étude sur les aliments au Canada menée d’octobre à décembre 2016. Les questions ont porté sur leur appui à 21 mesures particulières dans sept grands domaines : l’étiquetage des menus, les symboles et les mises en garde sur les emballages alimentaires, les politiques scolaires, la fiscalité et les subventions, les restrictions de zonage, les interdictions de commercialisation et la formulation des produits alimentaires. Des modèles de régression linéaire ont permis d’examiner les appuis selon l’âge, le sexe, la ville, la race ou l’ethnicité, la situation parentale, l’indice de masse corporelle (IMC) et la littératie en santé.

Résultats

Nous avons observé de très hauts niveaux d’appuis à l’étiquetage des menus dans les restaurants et les écoles, ainsi qu’aux symboles et aux mises en garde sur les emballages alimentaires. La fiscalité, les restrictions de zonage (p. ex. à la présence d’aliments de restauration rapide et de dépanneurs près des écoles) et les interdictions de commercialisation auprès des enfants ont recueilli des niveaux d’appui relativement moindres. En général, l’appui aux 21 mesures augmentait avec l’âge (p < 0,01), et l’appui à quatre mesures particulières augmentait avec la littératie en santé (p < 0,05). Les répondants de sexe masculin étaient moins en faveur de cinq mesures particulières que les répondantes (p < 0,01). Quatre mesures particulières ont recueilli des appuis sensiblement différents selon les groupes raciaux ou ethniques (p < 0,05). L’appui à l’étiquetage des menus augmentait avec l’IMC (p < 0,05).

Conclusion

Dans l’ensemble, les jeunes et les jeunes adultes canadiens expriment de hauts niveaux d’appui à l’étiquetage des menus, aux symboles et aux mises en garde sur les emballages alimentaires et aux politiques scolaires. Les niveaux d’appui sont généralement les mêmes dans toutes les strates de population, à quelques exceptions près.

Mots-clés

Politique nutritionnelle Appui aux réformes Opinion publique Canada 

Notes

Funding source

This project has been made possible through funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Additional funding for this project has been provided by a PHAC—Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Chair in Applied Public Health, which supports Professor Hammond, staff, and students at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Vanderlee is a CIHR Banting Postdoctoral Fellow.

Compliance with ethical standards

Consent was provided electronically before completing the survey. The study was reviewed by and received ethics clearance through the University of Waterloo Research Ethics Committee (ORE# 21631).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

References

  1. Beaglehole, R., Bonita, R., Horton, R., Adams, C., Alleyne, G., Asaria, P., et al. (2011). Priority actions for the non-communicable disease crisis. Lancet, 377(9775), 1438–1447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bos, C., Van der Lans, I. A., Rijnsoever, F. J. V., & Van Trijp, H. C. M. (2013). Understanding consumer acceptance of intervention strategies for healthy food choices: a qualitative study. BMC Pub Health, 13(1073).Google Scholar
  3. Brambila-Macias, J., Shankar, B., Capacci, S., Mazzocchi, M., Perez-Cueto, F. J. A., Verbeke, W., et al. (2011). Policy interventions to promote healthy eating: a review of what works, what does not, and what is promising. Food Nutr Bulletin, 32(4), 365–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burstein, P. (2003). The impact of public opinion on public policy: a review and an agenda. Political Res Quart, 56(1), 29–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Coalition Poids. (2012). Sugar-sweetened beverage marketing unveiled: Available at: https://www.cqpp.qc.ca/documents/file/2012/Report_Marketing-Sugar-Sweetened-Beverage_Volume2-Price_2012-03.pdf (Accessed on August 1, 2017).
  6. Diepeveen, S., Ling, T., Suhrcke, M., Roland, M., & Marteau, T. M. (2013). Public acceptability of government interventions to change health-related behaviours: a systematic review and narrative synthesis. BMC Pub Health, 13(756).Google Scholar
  7. Dietitians of Canada. (2016) Taxation and sugar-sweetened beverages: position of dietitians of Canada. Available at: http://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Public/DC-Position-SSBs-and-taxation.aspx (Accessed on July 27, 2017).
  8. Dunn JE, Liu K, Greenland P, Hilner JE, Jacobs DR Jr. Seven-year tracking of dietary factors in young adults: the CARDIA study. Am J Prev Med, 2000;18(1):38–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Garriguet, D. (2009). Diet quality in Canada. Health Rep, 20(3), 41–52.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Glanz, K., Sallis, J. F., Saelens, B. E., & Frank, L. D. (2005). Healthy nutrition environments: concepts and measures. Amer J Health Promot, 19(5), 330–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Government of Ontario. (2015) Healthy menu choices act. Available at: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/15h07 (Accessed on August 1, 2017).
  12. Hammond D, White CM, Reid JL. (2016) Canada Food Study: technical report. University of Waterloo, 2017. Available At: http://canadafoodstudy.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2016-CFS-Tech-Report_01042018.pdf(Accessed on May 15, 2017).
  13. Health Canada. (2010) Sodium reduction strategy for Canada: recommendations of the Sodium Working Group. Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/sodium/related-information/reduction-strategy/recommendations-sodium-working-group.html#a441 (Accessed on April 30, 2017).
  14. Julia, C., Mejean, C., Vicari, F., Peneeau, S., & Hercberg, S. (2015). Public perception and characteristics related to acceptance of the sugar-sweetened beverage taxation launched in France in 2012. Pub Health Nutr, 18(14), 2679–2688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Langlois K, Garriguet D (2015). Statistics Canada: sugar consumption among Canadians of all ages. Available at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2011003/article/11540-eng.htm (Accessed on April 30, 2017).
  16. Larson, N. I., Story, M., Eisenberg, M. E., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2006). Food preparation and purchasing roles among adolescents: associations with sociodemographic characteristics and diet quality. J Am Diet Assoc, 106(2), 211–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lobstein, T., Landon, J., Kent, M. P., Pellerin, S., Caulfield, T., Finegood, D., et al. (2013). Restricting marketing to children: consensus on policy interventions to address obesity. J Pub health policy, 34(2), 239–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mazzocchi, M., Cagnone, S., Bech-Larsen, T., Niedzwiedzka, B., Saba, A., Shankar, B., et al. (2015). What is the public appetite for healthy eating policies? Evidence from a cross-European survey. Health Econ Pol Law, 10, 267–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nelson, M. C., Story, M., Larson, N. I., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Lytle, L. A. (2008). Emerging adulthood and college-aged youth: an overlooked age for weight-related behavior change. Obesity, 16(10), 2205–2211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pfizer. (2017) The newest vital sign: a health literacy assessment tool for patient care and research. Available at: http://www.pfizer.com/health/literacy/public_policy_researchers/nvs_toolkit (Accessed on July 27, 2017).
  21. Public Health Agency of Canada. (2011) Canadians’ perceptions of, and support for, potential measures to prevent and reduce childhood obesity: Final report. Available at: http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/200/301/pwgsc-tpsgc/por-ef/public_health_agency_canada/2011/100-10/report.pdf (Accessed on August 1, 2017).
  22. Public Health Agency of Canada. (2014). The chief public health officer’s report on the state of public health in Canada, 2011: youth and young adults—life in transition, . Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/corporate/publications/chief-public-health-officer-reports-state-public-health-canada/chief-public-health-officer-report-on-state-public-health-canada-2011.html (Accessed on July 27, 2017).
  23. Raine, K. D., Nykiforuk, C. I., Vu-Nguyen, K., Nieuwendyk, L. M., VanSpronsen, E., Reed, S., et al. (2014). Understanding key influencers’ attitudes and beliefs about healthy public policy change for obesity prevention. Obesity, 22(11), 2426–2433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Signal, L. N., Watts, C., Murphy, C., Eyles, H., & Mhurchu, C. N. (2017). Appetite for health-related food taxes: New Zealand stakeholder views. Health Promot Int.  https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dax019.
  25. Spitters H, Schwartz M, Veugelers P. (2009). Parent and student support for school policies that promote healthy eating and active living. Available at: http://www.appleschools.ca/files/Spitters2009.pdf (Accessed on July 27, 2017).
  26. Statistics Canada. (2011). Population and dwelling count highlight tables, Census, 2016. Available at: http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/dp-pd/hlt-fst/pd-pl/index-eng.cfm (Accessed on October 1, 2016).
  27. Statistics Canada. The 10 leading causes of death 2011, 2015. Available at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2014001/article/11896-eng.htm (Accessed on April 30, 2017).
  28. Story, M., Kaphingst, K. M., Robinson-O’Brien, R., & Glanz, K. (2008). Creating healthy food and eating environments: policy and environmental approaches. Ann Rev Pub Health, 29, 253–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Street, J. M., Sisnowski, J., Tooher, R., Farrell, L. C., & Braunack-Mayer, A. J. (2017). Community perspectives on the use of regulation and law for obesity prevention in children: a citizens’ jury. Health Policy, 121(5), 566–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. UNICEF. (2017) UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/rightsite/files/uncrcchilldfriendlylanguage.pdf (Accessed on July 27, 2017).
  31. Weiss, B. D., Mays, M. Z., Martz, W., Merriam Castro, K., DeWalt, D. A., Pignone, M. P., et al. (2005). Quick assessment of literacy in primary care: the Newest Vital Sign. Ann Fam Med, 3(6), 514–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jasmin Bhawra
    • 1
  • Jessica L. Reid
    • 1
  • Christine M. White
    • 1
  • Lana Vanderlee
    • 2
  • Kim Raine
    • 3
  • David Hammond
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public Health and Health SystemsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Department of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.School of Public HealthUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations