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Power Up Gives Alberta A 'D' For Access To Healthy Food

It's not looking good.

When it comes to providing healthy food for kids, Alberta barely gets a passing grade.

Power Up, a multi-agency organization funded by the federal government, was given a “D” in Alberta’s 2016 Nutrition Report Card.

“In the last year, Alberta’s grades have gotten significantly worse for children’s food environments,” Kim Raine, professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, said in a statement.

"The research shows that Alberta is not making the healthy choice the easy choice for children and youth."

Researchers said the biggest concern was a lack of access to healthy food.

Healthy food hard to find

In 60 per cent of Alberta neighbourhoods, the number of stores that sell unhealthy products outnumber stores selling healthy food, 10 to one.

Over 75 per cent of schools in Calgary and Edmonton are located less than 500 metres away from a convenience store or fast food restaurant. And, in recreation centres, almost all of food available for sale is junk.

The situation is even worse in rural Alberta communities. In those areas, the study gave an "F" for the lack of affordable, healthy choices. It also noted that reliance on food banks by Alberta's children is on the rise.

Since 1980, the number of obese kids in Canada has increased three-fold, according to the study.

Last year, Alberta received a "C" on the report.

"Put simply, our province is barely passing when it comes to providing healthy food environments for children and youth," Raine said.

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