Implementing a food policy does not boil down to taking fries and other occasional food products off the menu. Instead, it can include a number of different actions, including:
These tall challenges require having access to sufficient resources to ensure that policies are implemented successfully.
Lack of resources has at times had major consequences that have gone so far as to threaten the survival of some cafeterias. In some schools, disappointed with the menu of their cafeteria, young people have too often turned towards nearby fast-food restaurants. The healthy food offered in schools and health institutions must be sufficiently interesting to compete with the outside environment.
An action-research project was undertaken by the Association pour la santé publique du Québec (Quebec Public Health Association), in conjunction with the Réseau québécois des villes et villages en santé (Quebec Network of Healthy Cities and Towns), and the Weight Coalition, to assess possible courses of action aimed at limiting the presence of junk food around schools.
From 2009 to 2011, the project in question, titled The school zone and nutrition: courses of action for the municipal sector, demonstrated that it was possible, from a legal and urbanistic perspective, to use urban planning regulations to limit the presence of fast-food restaurants around schools.
According to a SOM survey conducted on behalf of the Weight Coalition in 2009, 76% of the Quebec population was in favour of using zoning by-laws to ban the opening of new fast-food restaurants in the vicinity of schools.
For more information on the project: