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Thursday, June 19, 2008

New Obesity Numbers for Canada

Yesterday, Statistics Canada released the latest data from the 2007 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) for obesity.

Overall 4 million Canadians aged 18 or older, 16% of the total, reported data on weight and height that put them in the obese category. Another 8 million, or 32%, were overweight.

Although between 2005 and 2007, rates of both overweight and obesity generally changed little, during that period, there was a slight increase in the proportion of women aged 18 to 24 who were obese, and a decrease in the proportion of senior men who were overweight.

Self-reported obesity rates were generally highest among individuals aged 45 to 64. One-fifth (20%) of men in this age group were obese, as were 18% of women. The proportion who were overweight also tended to peak in middle-age.

Men aged 25 to 44 were considerably more likely than their female counterparts to be obese.

Among the provinces, rates of obesity were highest in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Atlantic Canada, ranging from 18% in Alberta to a high of 22% in Newfoundland and Labrador. The lowest rates were in British Columbia where only 11% of adults were obese.

Overweight and obese adults were less likely to rate their health as excellent or very good than were adults not carrying excess weight.

Obviously, because of the tendency of respondents to over-report their height and under-report their weight, it is likely that these figures from the CCHS underestimate the actual prevalence of obesity and overweight.

Clearly, the obesity epidemic is alive and kicking. Delivering appropriate obesity treatments to one-fifth of the population is likely to remain a challenge for the forseeable future.

Edmonton, Alberta

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