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Back to Symposium 2009

Food beyond Nutrients in Prevention of Chronic Disease

G. Harvey Anderson, PhD

Professor, Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Physiology; Director, Program in Food Safety, Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs, University of Toronto

In 2007, Canada’s healthcare spending represented more than 10% of the GDP and it continues to outpace inflation and population growth; in fact, it accounts for a whopping 50% of provincial budgets. The cost of healthcare in Canada appears to rise in step with the nation’s body mass index… and the rate of obesity in Canada has already reached 15.5% and continues to grow. It is currently estimated to account for $4.3 billion a year in healthcare costs. What’s more, in Canada, 40% of adults over the age of 40 have two or more characteristics of the metabolic syndrome. Obesity and chronic diseases place an ever-increasing burden on businesses, in productivity costs and insurance coverage costs, posing significant threats to the vitality of a highly-interdependent global economy.

Thus, it’s no surprise that the nutritional quality and health benefits of food are the subjects of an enormous amount of research. We have come a long way in understanding how our diets can help promote good health, but nutrient-based food guidance systems such as Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating, while important, can only go so far in helping to prevent the development of chronic disease. What about the benefits of food beyond its nutrients? In this presentation we’ll explore how we have and can continue to innovate, develop and market the Canadian Climate Advantage to develop “agri-food” policies that can further promote good health and reduce healthcare costs by stimulating crop and food innovation dedicated to sustaining health and preventing chronic disease.

Other Presentation Summaries

  • Heidi Bates, BSc., RD

    Consulting dietitian, Tri-Nutrition Consulting; Instructor, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology; Director, Integrated Dietetic Internship, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Alberta

  • Alejandro R. Jadad, MD, DPhil, FRCPC, FCAHS

    Chief Innovator and Founder, Centre for Global eHealth Innovation; Canada Research Chair in eHealth Innovation; Rose Family Chair in Supportive Care; Professor, Departments of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and Anesthesia; Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University Health Network and University of Toronto

  • Isabelle Neiderer, RD

    Director of Nutrition
    Dairy Farmers of Canada

  • Leslie Beck, RD

    Director of Nutrition, Medcan Clinic
    Weekly columnist, The Globe and Mail
    Nutrition expert, CTV Canada AM, CFRB Toronto radio and CJAD Montreal radio

  • Adam Drewnowski, PhD

    Professor, Epidemiology; Director, Center for Public Health Nutrition and Nutritional Sciences Program, University of Washington

  • Mary Sue Waisman, MSc, PDt, FDC

    Dietitian, Professional Chef, Nutrition Consultant and Cookbook Author: ALL ABOUT FOOD Nutrition Consulting, Halifax, Nova Scotia

  • Nathalie Jobin, PhD, RD

    Director, Nutrition and Scientific Affairs
    Nutrium, University of Montreal


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