Marketing unhealthy food and beverages to children is a pervasive problem despite the negative impact it has on children’s taste preferences, eating habits and health. In an effort to mitigate this influence on Canadian children, Health Canada has developed a nutrient profile model with two options for national implementation. This study examined the application of Health Canada’s proposed model to 374 child-targeted supermarket products collected in Calgary, AB, Canada and compared this with two international nutrient profile models. Products were classified as permitted or not permitted for marketing to children using the Health Canada model (Option 1 and Option 2), the WHO Regional Office for Europe model, and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) model. Results were summarized using descriptive statistics. Overall, Health Canada’s Option 1 was the most stringent, permitting only 2.7% of products to be marketed to children, followed by PAHO (7.0%), WHO (11.8%), and Health Canada’s Option 2 (28.6%). Across all models, six products (1.6%) were universally permitted, and nearly 60% of products were universally not permitted on the basis of nutritional quality. Such differences in classification have significant policy and health-related consequences, given that different foods will be framed as “acceptable” for marketing to children—and understood as more or less healthy—depending on the model used.
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