Around 74% of Canadians are anxious to improve their eating habits in 2002, according to a survey compiled by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada/ACNielsen.

In response to this statistic, the Foundation has embarked on a public education campaign to help consumers identify healthy food choices by adding a standardized symbol placed on food packaging, the Foundation’s Health Check(TM) symbol, something 92% of those surveyed said would be useful.

Dietician Bretta Maloff, chair of the Health Check(TM) Program, commented: “It’s great news that Canadians want to change their eating habits and are motivated to do so, but good intentions only get them part way there.

“People need tools and reminders to adopt and maintain healthy behaviours. The results of this survey indicate that Canadians are ready to change. That’s where we come in. We’ve got a ready-made program to assist them right where most food purchase decisions are made – the grocery store.”

Food bearing the Health Check(TM) symbol, a small rectangle containing a circle, the words Health Check(TM), a check mark and the words Heart and Stroke Foundation, will meet certain nutritional criteria, approved in Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating. Throughout January, hundreds of products bearing the symbol are available in some 2,400 participating retailers across Canada.

Doug MacQuarrie, general manager of Health Check(TM), commented: “A majority of Canadians find food labelling confusing, and they’re looking for simple ways to make healthy choices.

“The Health Check(TM) symbol is a tool that simplifies their decision-making – and we want more Canadians to know about it.”