Junk food ban opponents to get audience with Ontario education minister

·Politics Reporter

The two high school students responsible for the "Our Future; student choice across Ontario" YouTube video will be heading to Queen's Park on Thursday, for a meeting with Ontario education minister Laurel Broten.

Their video, which has become a viral hit, rails against the law that bans junk food from vending machines and cafeterias in Ontario schools.

According to a story by CTV News, the video's producers - grade 12 students Samuel Battista and Brian Baah -will be introduced in the legislature Thursday and education minister Laurel Broten has expressed interest in meeting with them to discuss the issue.

"We felt like we have always been told what we can do, what we can't do. Where we can go, where we can't go," Battista told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday.

"We are not saying we don't want a healthy lifestyle. We are saying keep the healthy alternatives. But to say we can't have gum, Gatorade and cupcakes is going too far.

"I am 18. I can vote now, I can join the army and I can drive, but I can't choose what to eat."

The so-called Health Food for Schools Act, enacted last September, was introduced as means to combat child obesity and to mitigate future costs to the health care system.

According to the Ontario Medical Association, childhood obesity is now a troubling epidemic. 26 per cent of Canadian children between two and 17 years of age are considered overweight (18 per cent) or obese (8 per cent) — a dramatic increase from 1978-79 when only 15 per cent of children in the same age category were considered overweight or obese.

The trends regarding childhood obesity are staggering as statistics indicate that 75 per cent of obese children will be obese adults.

Junk food is also either banned or in the process of being banned in all schools in British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

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