Convenience stores and gas bars across British Columbia - from Mac's to 7-Elevens to independents - are partnering with the Province to help make the healthier choice the easy choice, as part of Healthy Families BC, announced Health Minister Michael de Jong.
The Healthy Convenience Store initiative is a collaboration between the Province and the Western Convenience Store Association (WCSA). Participating stores will post nutrition information at the point of purchase for their ready-to-eat, unpackaged foods - such as nachos, sandwiches and pizza. They also commit to dedicating increased floor and shelf space for designated healthy food and beverage options for consumers. Stores that meet these criteria will receive a healthy convenience store designation from the association.
British Columbia will be the first jurisdiction in the country to implement a program of this kind. While the program is completely voluntary, both the Mac's and 7-Elevens convenience store chains have committed to participate, as well as a wide variety of other chains and independent stores and gas bars, including Winks Plus, Fas Gas Plus, PetroCanada, Husky, Mohawk, and Mid Island Co-ops. Together, Mac's and 7-Elevens represent over 400 stores provincewide.
The WCSA has embraced the initiative and is leading its implementation across the province. Every day, over one million people in B.C. visit a WCSA convenience store.
Right now about half of British Columbians are overweight or obese; half are not getting enough physical activity; 15 per cent smoke; and virtually all British Columbians eat more than double the amount of sodium recommended for good health. Through Healthy Families BC, the Province is working to combat these trends, and prevent or delay chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
A strengthened provincial strategy and investment in prevention can improve the health of British Columbians and potentially avoid up to $2 billion in yearly health-care costs, according to a report released in September 2010 by provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall. Obesity alone costs up to $830 million a year to the economy.
- Healthy Families BC is a $68.7-million initiative that supports healthy eating, healthy lifestyles, helping families and communities make healthy choices and giving the most vulnerable B.C. children a healthy start in life.
- In B.C., there are about 261 Macs and affiliates stores with about 148 7-Eleven stores.
- The WCSA was founded in 2002 to represent the convenience store market in the West and North of Canada - from about 2400+ defined convenience stores to over 3000 "convenient" seasonal, temporary and combinations of food, gas and carwash outlets.
- The WCSA/CCSA sees over 10.4 million customers through their stores coast to coast every day - over one million of those are in B.C.
For more information on Healthy Families BC please visit: www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)
Western Convenience Store Association