Marketing to Children
The mission of this Workgroup is to work with OPHA members, affiliated organizations, relevant provincial and national partners, and others to create an Ontario where children have the right not to be targets of commercial advertising and the right to be protected from the harmful effects of commercial marketing.
As a recently formed workgroup, our goals include:
to develop an advocacy agenda for OPHA's recently passed resolution, A Ban on All Commercial Advertising Targeted to Children Under Thirteen Years of Age;
develop and promote effective media literacy and citizen education information for children and parents to help cope with the negative effects of commercial marketing, and to build a broad and diverse coalition of individuals, groups and organizations to support such advocacy;
be a forum to foster collaboration among stakeholders from across the province concerned about the negative effects of commercial marketing to children, including but not limited to those interested in the following issues: unhealthy food advertising, tobacco and alcohol promotion, the sexualization of childhood, unhealthy weights, and physical inactivity promotion;
promote the issue of protecting children from the harmful effects of commercial marketing as critical to public health goals;
develop and/or disseminate effective media literacy materials to public health authorities to support parents' interactions with commercial marketing targeted to children.
OPHA’s Breastfeeding Promotion Workgroup, formed in 1993, recognizes the need to develop a province-wide strategy to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding as a means of improving health of children and their mothers.
Extensive research emphasizes the crucial role of breastfeeding in achieving optimal health outcomes. Since breast feeding initiation, duration and exclusivity rates continue to be lower than recommended, the advocacy efforts must continue.
To enable health professionals to contribute to the protection, promotion and support of breast feeding through inclusion of consistent accurate breastfeeding information and resources in undergraduate program curricula.
To enhance the breastfeeding knowledge and skills of health professionals by collaboratively developing and implementing strategies for sharing evidence, best practice recommendations and resources.
To partner with other organizations to advocate for a comprehensive breastfeeding strategy for Ontario.
To facilitate the inclusion of appropriate breastfeeding information and resources in the elementary and high-school curricula.
The OPHA Breastfeeding Promotion Workgroup in Action...
Revisions to the document, Creating a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace, were completed in 2008. Links to the Ontario Human Rights Commission and to the document, "How to Be a Family Friendly Workplace", are included in this resource.
The workgroup’s Breastfeeding Position Paper (revised 2007) reflects current evidence-informed breastfeeding recommendations. The paper emphasizes the importance of upholding the principles of the Baby-Friendly Initiative which includes investing upstream, basing decisions on evidence and acting on the determinants of health as they relate to breastfeeding.
A position paper, Informed Decision Making and Infant Feeding, was developed and presented at OPHA’s 2007 Annual General Meeting. It highlights the importance of the need to include risks associated with artificial baby milk (ABM) when providing information about infant feeding.
A position paper presented to the OPHA Board in 2004, Balancing and Communicating Issues Related to Environmental Contaminants in Breastmilk, advocates that, while research has shown that a woman's breast milk may contain contaminants, women should in most cases continue to breastfeed, as in the vast majority of cases the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the associated risks.
The Workgroup continues to write advocacy letters supporting and promoting breastfeeding in Ontario.
Big Wins and Impacts
The Breastfeeding Curriculum for Undergraduate Health Professionals was distributed in 2009 to postsecondary institutions to contribute to the consistency and accuracy of breast feeding information and training. The document provides learning modules which have information and resources to plan curriculum for undergraduate health care professionals.
A Breastfeeding Information and Activity Kit (also available in French) was developed and distributed in 2009 and is a resource for secondary school teachers to use as they create lesson plans which include promotion of breastfeeding. It would also be helpful for prenatal teachers. This will contribute to the creation of a culture where breastfeeding is the norm for infant and young child feeding.
Our position paper called The WHO Code and the Ethical Marketing of Breast milk Substitutes was approved by the OPHA Board in September 2010. This paper outlines how the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding can be enhanced by ensuring appropriate marketing and distribution of formula and related products in accordance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast milk Substitutes (“the Code”) and subsequent WHA resolutions. Mothers must be enabled to make informed decisions about infant feeding free from commercial influence. This paper explores the roles of Public Health, health care facilities, and national legislation to ensure full implementation of the Code.
Ontario’s Public Health Standards now reflect the global recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding to six months, with the addition of nutrient-rich complementary foods thereafter and continued breastfeeding up to two years and beyond...
Informed decision-making regarding infant feeding is being recognized as a major contributing factor in achievement of optimal child health outcomes.
Child and Youth Health
OPHA’s Child and Youth Health Workgroup addresses challenges and opportunities that affect the healthy growth and development of Ontario’s children and youth.
The Workgroup’s goals include:
Monitoring and participating in the development and implementation of the new Ontario Public Health Standards, protocols, and resource documents and their implications for child health programs.
To explore the feasibility of developing a child health framework that outlines a plan for the integration of child and youth health programs.
To advocate for the inclusion of child and youth health as a priority and the need to integrate issues and programs into other program areas.
To advocate in the area of child and family poverty.
The workgroup currently consists of just over 20 individuals from health units, allied agencies, and universities who have a shared interest in promoting the health of children, youth and families. Over the last several years our publications and policy statements have included:
We are also currently examining emerging issues in Child Poverty and welcome anyone who shares these and other child and youth-related interests to join us.
If you are an OPHA member, and wish to join this workgroup, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.