Canada

INFORMAS in Canada is led by Dr. Mary L’Abbé.

INFORMAS work is ongoing in Canada in 8 of the 9 modules. In Fall 2018, we submitted a pan-Canadian grant to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research with researchers from across the country to complete the entire INFORMAS program in Canada. We have identified experts to lead or co-lead each of the modules. The overall process will be led by Dr. Lana Vanderlee and Dr. Mary L’Abbe. Collaborators include:

  • Veronique Provencher, Universite de Laval – Composition Co-lead
  • Monique Potvin Kent, University of Ottawa – Marketing
  • Beatriz Franco-Arellano, University of Toronto – Labelling Co-lead
  • Mary McKenna, University of New Brunswick – Provision Co-lead
  • Sara Kirk, Dalhousie University – Provision Co-lead
  • Leia Minaker, University of Waterloo – Retail Co-lead
  • Catherine Mah, Dalhousie University – Retail Co-lead
  • Marie-Eve Labonte, Universite de Laval – Price Co-lead
  • Chantal Blouin, Institut National de Sante Publique de Quebec – Trade
  • Jean-Claude Moubarac, University de Montreal – Population diet
  • Linda Greene-Finestone, Public Health Agency of Canada – Population outcomes

Additional INFORMAS work that is ongoing in Canada:

Food composition data has been collected using the Food Labelling Information Program (FLIP), led by Dr. L’Abbé and includes data on over 45,00 products (i.e. >10,000 products collected in 2010, >15,000 products in 2013 and >20,000 in 2017).

We have now completed the Food-EPI work and in the Private Sector module, the Full report and Executive summary  for BIA-Obesity Canada 2019 have been published.

We expect several publications from this data with regards to Food-EPI, BIA-Obesity, food composition, food labelling, food price and food promotion modules in 2019.

 

Dr. Mary L’Abbé

Professor

Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto

Phone: +1 416 978 7235; mobile +1 416 605 1902

Email: Dr. Mary L’Abbé


Dr. Leia Minaker

Assistant Professor
School of Planning, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo

Retail module

Email: Dr Leia Minaker

 

 

 


dr lana vanderlee

Dr Lana Vanderlee

Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Waterloo

Food-EPI and Private Sector modules

Email: Dr Lana Vanderlee

 

 


beatriz franco arellano

Beatriz Franco Arellano

PhD Candidate, CIHR Graduate Scholarship
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto

Labelling module

Email: Beatriz Franco Arellano

 


dr marie-eve labonteDr Marie-Ève Labonté

Assistant Professor

Université Laval

Price module

Email: Dr Marie-Ève Labonté

Module

Status (as of January 2019)

Outputs

Public Sector (Food EPI)

  • Final report published December 2017 

 Food-EPI Full Report Canada “Creating Healthier Food environments in Canada: Current policies and

 priority actions” 

 Executive Summary  

  • Developed an adapted Local-Food-EPI tool to monitor municipal food environments

 4-9, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 21,

Private Sector

  • Completed packaged food and beverage manufacturers assessments, will be publicly released February 2019
  • In the process of finalizing scoring for Restaurant and Supermarket sectors
 3, 20, 22, 24, 
Food Composition
  • Data collection and analyses completed for 2010 and 2013;
  • Data collection for 2017 has been completed, analyses being conducted
 25-27, 29-35, 37, 
Food Labelling
  • Data collection and claims analysis completed for 2013
  • Manuscript submitted
 10, 11,13, 23, 28, 36, 38, 39-45
Food Promotion
  • Information for packaged foods collected in 2010 and 2013
  • INFORMAS publication by Dr. Monique Potvin Kent regarding digital advertising
 1,2,16,
Food Prices
  • Data collection completed
  • Data quality verification completed
  • Final analyses to be conducted in Summer 2017
 46
Food Retail
  • Leia Minaker (U Waterloo) and her team are leading the INFORMAS Retail Module – Canada.
  • She has worked with Health Canada to develop a retail food environment assessment manual for Canadian communities, which is currently being piloted in communities across Canada.
  • She is co-lead of the FRESH-IT project, which is a CIHR-funded knowledge-to-action grant that has worked with four small- to mid-size municipalities across Canada to assess the retail food environment and plan for interventions.
 
Food Provision
  • Hospital foods analysed
 46-48
Food Trade & Investment
  •  No activity to date
 

Franco-Arellano, B., Min Ah, K., Vandevijvere, S., Bernstein, J.T., Labonté, M., Mulligan, C., & L’Abbé, M.R. (2019). Assessment of Packaged Foods and Beverages Carrying Nutrition Marketing against Canada’s Food Guide Recommendations. Nutrients, 11(2), 411; doi.org/10.3390/nu11020411

R.Kanter, L. Vanderlee, S. Vandevijvere. (2018). Front-of-package nutrition labelling policy: global progress and future directions. Public health Nutrition, 21(8), 1399-1408.DOI.org/10.1017/S1368980018000010

 

This is a synopsis of INFORMAS-related work by Canada to date.  
 
  1. Vergeer L, Vanderlee L, Potvin Kent M, Mulligan C, L’Abbé MR. (2018). The effectiveness of voluntary policies and commitments in restricting unhealthy food marketing to Canadian children on food company websites. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, DOI:1139/apnm-2018-0528.
  2. Potvin Kent M, Pauze E. The Frequency and Healthfulness of Food and Beverages Advertised on Adolescents’ Preferred Web Sites in Canada. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2018;63(1):102-107.
  3. Vergeer L, Vanderlee L, L’Abbé MR. (2018). A tool to evaluate the food environment policies and commitments of food companies in Canada. Oral presentation at “The Future of Obesity Prevention and Management 2.0” event held by Obesity Canada, Toronto, Canada.
  4. Vanderlee L, Goorang S, Karbasy K, Schermel A, L’Abbe M. (2018) “Food environments in Canada: Current policies and priority actions”. The summary report as well as all provincial and territorial reports can be found at: http://labbelab.utoronto.ca/food-epi-canada-2017/
  5. Vanderlee L, Goorang S, Karbasy K, Schermel A, L’Abbe M. (2018) Food environments in Canada: Current policies and priority actions. Presented at the Canadian Public Health Association Annual Meeting. May 29, 2018. Montreal, Canada.
  6. L’Abbe MR and Vanderlee, L. (2018) Nutrition Resource Centre webinar with over 200 individuals in attendance to present the Ontario report.
  7. L’Abbé M, Vanderlee L. (2018). Creating Healthier Food Environments in Canada: Current policies and priority actions. Briefing synopsis to Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada, Ottawa, Canada
  8. Vanderlee L, L’Abbé M. (2017). Creating healthier food environments in Canada: Current policies and priority actions. Briefing synopsis to the Provincial/Territorial Group on Nutrition, Bimonthly teleconference, Canada
  9. Vanderlee L, L’Abbé M. (2017). Creating healthier food environments in Canada: Current policies and priority actions. Briefing synopsis to Health Canada, Ottawa, Canada.
  10. Franco-Arellano B, Labonté ME, Bernstein J and L’Abbé MR. (2018). Examining the nutritional quality of Canadian packaged foods and beverages with and without nutrition claims. Nutrients. 10(7): E832.
  11. Labonte M, Emrich TE, Scarborough P, Rayner M, L’Abbe MR. (2018). Potential impact of adopting traffic light labelling on mortality from noncommunicable diseases in Canada: A scenario modelling study. Journal of Preventive Medicine.
  12. Vanderlee L, L’Abbé M. (2017). Commentary – Food for thought on food environments in Canada. Health Promot Chronic Dis Prev Can. 37(9): 263-265.
  13. Vanderlee L, Oh Y, Ahmed M, Franco-Arellano B, L’Abbe MR. (2017). Technical report to inform front-of- package nutrition labelling in Canada. The efficacy of front-of- package labelling schemes: an experimental study. Health Canada
  14. Karbasy, K, Vanderlee L, L’Abbe M. (2018). Local Food-EPI: pilot study to assess municipal food environment policies in Ontario. Canadian Nutrition Society Annual Meeting (Poster Presentation)
  15. Vanderlee L, L’Abbe M. (2018). The food environment in Canada: Current policies and priority actions. Part of symposium titled “Food environment policy in Canada and around the globe” chaired by Dr. Mary L’Abbe. Canadian Nutrition Society Annual Meeting (Oral Presentation)
  16. Vergeer L, Vanderlee L, Potvin Kent M, Mulligan C, L’Abbé MR. (2018). Examining the nutritional quality of products marketed to children on websites of top food companies in Canada. Canadian Nutrition Society Annual Conference (Poster Presentation)
  17. Vanderlee L, Goorang S, Karbasy K, Schermel A, L’Abbe M. (2018). The food environment in Canada: Current policies and priority actions. Canadian Public Health Association Annual Meeting (Oral Presentation)
  18. Vanderlee L, Karbasy K, Vandevijvere S, Swinburn B L’Abbe MR. Examining food environment policy implementation in Canada: adapting the Food-EPI tool and process to the Canadian context. (October 17, 2017 – Poster). IUNS 21st International Congress on Nutrition. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  19. Vanderlee L, Karbasy K, L’Abbe MR. An analysis of government action regarding food environment policies in Canada by jurisdiction. (May 25, 2017 – Poster). Canadian Nutrition Society Annual Meeting. Montreal, Canada.
  20. Vanderlee L, Sacks G, Vergeer L, Robinson E, Vandevijvere S, Swinburn B, L’Abbe M for INFORMAS. Implementation of a tool to evaluate policy actions and commitments of chain restaurants in Canada. (October 19, 2017 – Oral). IUNS 21st International Congress on Nutrition. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  21. Karbasy K, Vanderlee L, L’Abbe M. (2017). A comprehensive local food environment policy monitoring framework. Canadian Nutrition Society Annual Meeting (Poster Presentation)
  22. Vergeer L, Vanderlee L, Kent MP, L’Abbé MR. Commitments and actions regarding marketing to children on company websites of major packaged food companies in Canada. (May 25, 2017 – Poster). Canadian Nutrition Society Annual Meeting. Montreal, Canada.
  23. Ahmed M and Aziz A. Front-of-Package Labelling Perspectives on implementation and the impact of front-of-package labels on consumers’ food choices and perceptions. Symposium, Canadian Nutrition Society, Halifax 2018.
  24. Vanderlee L, Sacks G, Vergeer L, Robinson E, Vandevijvere S, Swinburn B, L’Abbé M for INFORMAS. Examining food environment policies of major chain restaurants in Canada. (June 9, 2017 – Oral). International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting. Victoria, Canada.
  25. Bernstein JT, Schermel A, Mills CM, L’Abbé MR. 2016. Total and free sugar content of Canadian prepackaged foods and beverages. Nutrients. 2016;8(9): E582.
  26. Arcand J, Jefferson K, Schermel A, Shah F, Trang S, Kutlesa D, Lou W, L’Abbe MR. 2016. Examination of food industry progress in reducing the sodium content of packaged foods in Canada: 2010 to 2013. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016 Jun;41(6):684-90. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2015-0617. Epub 2016 Apr 26. PMID: 27113326
  27. Semnani-Azad Z, Scourboutakos MJ, L’Abbé MR. Kids’ Meals from Chain Restaurants: Exceedingly High in Calories, Fats, and Sodium. BMC Nutrition 2016: 2:16 doi:10.1186/s40795-016-0056-8.
  28. Schermel A, Wong CL, L’Abbé MR. 2016. Are Foods with Fat-Related Claims Useful for Weight Management? Appetite 2016;96:154-159. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.09.003.
  29. Scourboutakos MJ, Semnani-Azad Z, L’Abbe MR. 2015. Added Sugars in Kids’ Meals from Chain Restaurants. Prevent Med Rep EPub Available Online 1 Dec 2014. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335514000163
  30. Scourboutakos MJ, L’Abbe MR. 2014. Changes in sodium levels in chain restaurant foods in Canada (2010-2013): a longitudinal study. Can Med Assoc J Open 2014 Oct 1;2(4):E343-51. doi: 10.9778/cmajo.20140028. PMID: 25553327
  31. Arcand J, Scourboutakos MJ, Au JT, L’Abbe MR. 2014 Trends in trans fatty acids in the Canadian food supply: an updated analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;100(4):1116-23. Epub 2014 Aug 6
  32. Arcand J, Au JTC, Schermel A, L’Abbe MR. 2014. A comprehensive analysis of sodium levels in the Canadian packaged food supply. Am J Prev Med 2014;46(6):633–642.
  33. Scourboutakos MJ, Semnani-Azad Z, L’Abbe MR. 2013. Restaurant Meals: Almost a Full Day’s Worth of Calories, Fats, and Sodium.  JAMA Intern Med. 2013; 173(14):1373-4.
  34. Scourboutakos MJ, L’Abbé MR. 2013. Sodium Levels in Canadian Fast-food and Sit-down Restaurants. Can J Public Health 2013; 104(1):e2-e8.
  35. Scourboutakos MJ, L’Abbé MR. 2012. Restaurant menus: calories, caloric density, and serving size. Am J Prevent Med. 43(3):249-255.
  36. Schermel A, Emrich TE, Arcand J, Wong CL, L’Abbé MR. 2013. Nutrition marketing on processed food packages in Canada: 2010 Food Label Information Program. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2013; 38(6):666-72.
  37. Kim MA, Franco-Arellano B and L’Abbé MR. (2017). “Prevalence of partially and hydrogenated oils in the Canadian food supply”. Canadian Society of Nutrition Annual Meeting. Montreal, QC. May 25 – 27. Poster Presentation
  38. Emrich TE, Qi Y, Cohen JE, Lou WY, L’Abbe MR. 2015. Front-of-pack symbols are not a reliable indicator of products with healthier nutrient profiles. Appetite 2015; 84(1): 148-153. (featured on www.foodnavigator.com)
  39. Franco-Arellano B, Bernstein JT, Norsen S, Schermel A and L’Abbé MR (2017). “Assessing nutrition and other claims on food labels: A repeated cross-sectional analysis of the Canadian food supply”. BMC Nutrition – under review
  40. Franco-Arellano B, Labonté ME, Bernstein J and L’Abbé MR (2017). “Are health claims nudging consumers towards healthier food choices? An analysis of the nutritional quality of pre-packaged foods carrying health claims in the Canadian food supply”. International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting. Victoria, BC. Jun 7-10, 2017. Oral Presentation.
  41. Bernstein JT, Franco-Arellano B, Schermel A, Labonte ME, L’Abbé MR. (2017). “Healthfulness and nutritional composition of Canadian prepackaged foods with and without sugar claims”. International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting. Victoria, BC. Jun 7-10, 2017. Oral Presentation.
  42. Franco-Arellano B, Labonté ME, Bernstein J and L’Abbé MR. (2017). “Assessing the nutritional quality of pre-packaged foods carrying nutrient content and front-of-pack claims in the Canadian food supply”. Canadian Society of Nutrition Annual Meeting. Montreal, QC. May 25 – 27. Poster Presentation
  43. Bernstein JT, Franco-Arellano B, Schermel A. L’Abbé MR. (2017). “Is nutrition marketing more common in high sugar foods?” Canadian Society of Nutrition Annual Meeting. Montreal, QC. May 25 – 27. Poster Presentation
  44. Franco-Arellano B, Kim MA, Vandevijvere S, BernsteinJT, LabontéME, and L’Abbé MRPhD. “Healthfulness of Canadian packaged food products with and without health-related claims: An INFORMAS-based approach”. (October 2017). International Congress of Nutrition. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  45. Labonté ME, Noorhosseini S, Bernstein J, Ahmed M, L’Abbé MR. Are Foods of Higher Nutritional Quality More Expensive Than Their Less Healthy Counterparts? An Analysis of Canadian Packaged Foods. Abstract published in FASEB J. 2016;30:131.7. Presented at Experimental Biology (EB) 2016, April 3rd, 2016, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA. Available from: http://www.fasebj.org/content/30/1_Supplement/131.7 [Oral presentation + Finalist in the ASN Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Poster Competition].
  46. L’Abbé M, Schermel A, Minaker L, Kelly B, Lee A, Vandevijvere S, Twohig P, Barquera S, Friel S, Hawkes C, Kumanyika S, Lobstein T, Ma J, Macmullan J, Mohan S, Monteiro C, Neal B, Rayner M, Sacks G, Sanders D, Snowdon W, Swinburn B, Walker C. INFORMAS. Monitoring foods and beverages provided and sold in public sector settings, Obesity Reviews, 2013; 14(S1), 96-107
  47. Arcand J, L’Abbe M, Newton G. 2013. Hospital Salt — Reply. Response to Morton Satin’s (Salt Institute) letter regarding study “Evaluation of sodium levels in hospital patient menus”, JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Mar 11;173(5):391-2.
  48. Arcand J, Steckham K, Tzianetas R, L’Abbé MR, Newton GE. Evaluation of sodium levels in hospital patient menus. Arch Intern Med. 2012; 172 (16) 1261-62. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.2368
 
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Burroughs Wellcome Trust
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