One-third of children in Ontario are overweight or obese, province's medical assn. says

TORONTO , October 27, 2012 (press release) – Earlier this week, the Ontario Medical Association reported that a third of kids in Ontario are overweight or obese and that the health of an entire generation is in jeopardy. Today the Ontario Student Trustees' Association L'Association des Élèves Conseillers et Conseillères de l'Ontario" (OSTA-AECO) is calling for students across the province to boycott fast food all November. The Stick It to Fast Food campaign is designed to change how students think. Students are encouraged to go to stickittofastfood.org to make their pledge and join the boycott.

"This movement has attitude and will speak to students, unlike other healthy eating campaigns," said Hirad Zafari, high school senior and President of OSTA-AECO. "We want to make fast food un-cool."

Stick It to Fast Food is a grassroots student response to the nutrition-related health crises facing Canadians including obesity and chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and many cancers.

"Eating fast food is part of daily life for many people, especially teenagers," said Yoni Freedhoff, an Ottawa-based doctor and obesity specialist. "We need to de-normalize the use of fast food. The fact that students are taking this initiative is wonderful."

Kent Van Dyk, a chef and culinary arts teacher in Ottawa, thinks this boycott is a great idea. "We need to do everything we can to turn kids off fast food and get them thinking about eating better and cooking for themselves," he says. "We need to stigmatize fast food and what better way than having young people lead the charge."

The campaign's logo was designed by Toronto-based design firm Key Gordon, and provided pro bono to OSTA-AECO. When asked about the logo, Grant Gordon, Creative Director at Key Gordon, said "I know some in the media will say the logo's a bit obscene, but what's truly obscene is the amount of salt, sugar and fat fast food companies are feeding students. I'm impressed that the students are standing up for themselves and taking bold action."

As part of the campaign, Stick It to Fast Food will be releasing videos, memes and images, and will provide recipes and recommended readings on its website for students to learn more.

The OSTA-AECO, students elected by their peers, represents the collective voice of over 2.4 million students in the province and is the largest student stakeholder in education.

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