Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


RNAO issues key recommendations to help prevent childhood obesity


TORONTO, May 12, 2014 – A set of recommendations aimed at the prevention of childhood obesity will be unveiled in Toronto this week by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO).

Primary Prevention of Childhood Obesity (2nd edition) provides recommendations for nurses and other health professionals to help prevent child obesity, covering everything from how to establish better child health early, to policies around how food and beverages are marketed to children.

According to figures compiled by Statistics Canada, 31 per cent of children aged five to 17 are either overweight or obese. “This is a major public health crisis that we have to tackle head on, because children who are obese are likely to remain obese into adulthood,” says Doris Grinspun, chief executive officer of RNAO, adding the chronic illnesses that result such as diabetes, stroke and hypertension dictate the need for urgent action.

The guideline identifies societal factors that contribute to today’s high obesity rates. “Fast food restaurants, the prevalence of processed foods, lower levels of physical activity and a sedentary TV and video game culture. These are the ingredients for a staggering epidemic,” says Carol Timmings, chief nursing officer with Toronto Public Health. Timmings and nursing colleague Lorraine Telford led the panel of experts that developed the second edition of RNAO’s best practice guideline.

The guideline also offers recommendations that look at the environmental causes that can increase a child’s risk for obesity such as poverty and the role communities and government can play in establishing healthy public policies to combat the crisis.

“We’re thrilled with the leadership that Toronto Public Health has shown in championing this guideline. We all have a role to play in making sure our children live, grow, learn and play in a healthy and active environment, and this guideline serves as a base for strategies on how to deal with this pervasive health concern,” says Irmajean Bajnok, director of RNAO’s Best Practice Guidelines Program.

Bajnok says Toronto Public Health is among 330 sites around the world designated as an RNAO Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO) for its commitment to quality care and implementation of RNAO’s BPGs.


  • Irmajean Bajnok, RN, Director of RNAO’s Best Practice Guidelines Program
  • Carol Timmings, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, Toronto Public Health
  • Lorraine Telford, RN, Manager, LAMP Community Health Centre


  • Unveiling of RNAO’s Primary Prevention of Childhood Obesity Best Practice Guideline


  • Bond Place Hotel, 65 Dundas Street East, Toronto, ON


  • Wednesday, May 14, 1:30 – 2:00 p.m.

*Members of the media are welcome to attend

RNAO’s Best Practice Guidelines Program is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and was launched in 1999 to provide the best available evidence for patient care across all health sectors. The 50 guidelines developed to date are a substantial contribution towards building excellence in Ontario’s health system. They are available to nurses and other health professionals in Canada and abroad. To learn more about RNAO’s Nursing Best Practice Guidelines Program or to get a free download of these resources, please visit

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

For more information about RNAO, visit

To arrange an interview with a nurse, or for more information, please contact:

Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Cell: 647-406-5605 / Office: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209