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Obesity in Canada – Snapshot

by NationTalk on September 3, 20091824 Views

The report is also available in an alternate format for downloading or viewing:
Obesity in Canada – Snapshot (6 pages, PDF Version, 84 kb)


•In the 2007 Canadian Community Health Survey, the self-reported rate of adult obesity (age 18+) was 17%.i
•The actual rate of obesity is likely much higher, closer to 25%.
•Across Canada, self-reported rates of obesity have increased from 2003 to 2005 and again in 2007.•Obesity rates for both men and women increase with age, starting at age 20 and continuing until age 65.
•After age 65, obesity rates decline.
•In 2005, the measured rate of obesity for youth 12 to 17 was 9.4%, almost two times higher than the self-reported rate (4.9%).
•Self-reported data from 2002/03 suggest that obesity rates are high among First Nations adults (36.0%), youth (14.0%) and children (36.2%).
•In 2007, the self-reported obesity rate among off-reserve Aboriginal adults was 24.8%, compared to 16.6% for non-Aboriginal adults.
•Unlike other health issues such as mortality or life expectancy, for which there is a clear disadvantage for those with lower income, the relationship between income and obesity is not clear.
•In 2005, obesity-related chronic conditions accounted for $4.3 billion in direct ($1.8 billion) and indirect ($2.5 billion) costs – a figure that may be an underestimation of the total costs of excess weight in Canada.

Over the past several years, Canada has experienced an alarming increase in obesity rates among adults, children and youth.1, 2 Obesity (defined as a Body Mass Index or BMI of >30 kg/m2) is an important individual and population health issue, as it is a contributor to a wide variety of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and liver disease, as well as breast, colon and prostate cancer.3, 4

The current paper provides a snapshot of obesity in Canada using data analyzed by the Public Health Agency of Canada. A more detailed report is being developed in collaboration with the Canadian Population Health Initiative of the Canadian Institute for Health Information. This report will provide the latest information about how obesity is distributed in the Canadian population to healthcare providers, health promotion specialists and decision makers, thus building the understanding required for a population health approach to obesity.

Aboriginal People in Canada

Obesity is an important health issue among First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations. Self-reported data from 2007 show that obesity rates are higher among off-reserve Aboriginal adults compared to non-Aboriginal people (24.8% vs. 16.6%). Indeed, self-reported data from the 2002/03 First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey demonstrate that prevalence of obesity is particularly high among on-reserve First Nations people: 31.8% of adult men, 41.1% of adult women, 14.0% of youth and 36.2% of children were considered obese.10

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