Obesity in Canada

Obesity in Canada is a growing health concern, which is "expected to surpass[a] smoking as the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality" and represents a burden[b] of Can$3.96 (US$3.04/€2.75) billion on the Canadian economy each year."[1]

Share of adults that are obese, 1975 to 2016
  1. ^ Based on data from "the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey: Nutrition, the 1978/79 Canada Health Survey and the 1986 to 1992 Canadian Heart Health Surveys".
  2. ^ "The direct costs were extracted from the National Health Expenditure Database and allocated to each comorbidity using weights principally from the Economic Burden of Illness in Canada. The study showed that the total direct costs attributable to overweight and obesity in Canada were $6.0 billion in 2006, with 48% attributable to obesity."

Obesity rateEdit

Public Health of Canada has reported that in 2017, 64% of Canadians over the age of 18 are overweight or obese, and about 30% of children aged 5–17 are overweight or obese.[2][3] An independent study in the same year by Renew Bariatrics, a bariatric center for obesity treatment in the United States and Canada, reports 650 million adults and 135 million children and adolescents as obese worldwide.[4] Studies suggest that if Canada invests $4.2 billion in treatment for obesity, the obesity rate could be significantly reduced to 29%.[5] In children, obesity has substantially increased between 1978 and 2017, with obesity rates in children increasing from 23% to 30%.[2]

As of 2016, 16% of British Columbians are obese, making it the province with the lowest rate of obesity in Canada. The Northwest Territories have the highest obesity rate, at 33.7%.[6]

Lack of aidEdit

Although obesity is a treatable disease, there are a very few programs and resources available to Canadians that can help treat it. As of 2017, according to Obesity Canada, out of 80,544 physicians, only 40 are certified through the American Board of Obesity Medicine, with proper training to provide aid with weight management and obesity. Only 9 out of the 10 provinces in Canada perform bariatric surgery, and only 114 surgeons and 33 centers provide this service, making only 1 out of 183 Canadian adults eligible for it. Anti-obesity medication is not available for more than 80% of Canada's population, because of the limited access to private drug benefit plans. In result of these limitations, support for cognitive behavioral therapy, and mental health support is also limited.[7]

Childhood obesityEdit

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, as of 2017, 30% of children aged 5–17 are overweight or obese.[8] In 2016, 1 in 7 children in Canada were reported to be obese.[9] Making almost a third of youth overweight.[10] Since 1979, the rates of childhood obesity have tripled.[11]

The prevalence of severe obesity is of concern in Canada, such that around 1% of Ontario children met the adapted WHO definition of severe obesity (BMI z-score >3) in very early childhood.[12][13] Specifically, in a cohort of children in Ontario, 0.8% of children under 5 years of age had severe obesity and 2.1% of children 5–6 years of age had severe obesity.[14] The prevalence of severe obesity is known to increase with age, and boys have higher rates of severe obesity than girls.[15] Despite this, the prevalence of severe obesity among children and adolescents in Ontario is consistent with those in other developed countries with the exception of the United States and the prevalence may be plateauing in Ontario.[15] Additionally, children with severe obesity are more likely to have significantly higher blood pressure measures and trends toward worse lipid profiles than children who did not have severe obesity.[16]

In general, children with obesity are at much higher risk of developing health problems, ranging from, asthma, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, etc. Childhood obesity puts children at high risks of remaining obese throughout adulthood. In 2016, studies showed a declining rate in childhood obesity in Canada. The authors suggested this is in result of increased public awareness of obesity in children, or the body mass index (BMI) growth charts that were distributed to healthcare providers in 2000. They believe that these charts may have helped providers to educate children, and parents about this epidemic.[17] Research conducted by Angela Devlin, a researcher at University of British Columbia obesity researcher noted, children who were overweight were most likely growing into obese adults. In result, causing a decrease in childhood obesity, and contributing to the increase of adult obesity rates.[18]

Food as a Factor in Youth Obesity in Canada [19]Edit

The average daily caloric consumption has a direct link with the BMI. A 1-year survey by Mollard et al. (2007) carried out on young people aged 10 to 16 establishes a significant positive correlation between the consumption of energy-rich food and the rate of overweight/obesity.

In addition, according to these authors, obese children ate fewer servings of fruits and vegetables compared to children with a healthy weight. Mollard et al. (2007) also found that the size of the portions served to the child had an influence on the amount of calories ingested, from the age of 5 years.

Before this age, children would listen more to their hunger and better self-regulate their calorie consumption.

Our figures confirm the previous link between fruit and vegetable consumption and obesity.

Regional variationEdit

Obesity rates in Canadian provinces, 2004.[20]
  Percent of population obese
  Percent of population obese or overweight

A 2004 study called the Canadian Community Health Survey, found 29% of Canadians 18 and older were obese and 41% more were overweight (as determined by body mass index). In children and adolescents, 8% were obese and 18% overweight. Rates of obesity varied significantly between the provinces, from an obesity rate of 19% in British Columbia to a rate of 34% in Newfoundland and Labrador.[20]

In 2004, the prevalence of obesity in the three most populated provinces, Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, matched those of about thirty US states, at a level between 20% and 25%. The study found people that live in cities (Census Metropolitan Areas) had significantly lower obesity rates in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. In Quebec the relationship approached significance (p=0.08), while in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan the rate of obesity did not vary significantly between CMAs and rural areas.[20] Obesity in such populated areas often affects young adults, ages ranging from 16 to 21. Studies show that an individual who's going through extensive learning often binges on food to help relieve stress. People dealing with stress often turn to eating as a method to help ease or cope with their problems, leading to obesity.

A 2005 report released by the Canadian government's Economics Division reported that "In 2004, approximately 6.8 million Canadian adults aged 20 to 64 were overweight, and an additional 4.5 million were obese. Roughly speaking, an adult male is considered overweight when his body weight exceeds the maximum desirable weight for his height, and obese when his body weight is 20% or more over this desirable weight. A similar guideline holds true for women, but at a threshold of 25% rather than 20%. Dramatic increases in overweight and obesity among Canadians over the past 30 years have been deemed to constitute an epidemic."[21]

In April 2021, British Columbia became the first Canadian province to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, a move that the government described as a response to advice from health professionals.[22]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Eisenberg, Mark J.; Renée Atallah; Sonia M. Grandi; Sarah B. Windle; Elliot M. Berry (Sep 20, 2011). "Legislative approaches to tackling the obesity epidemic". CMAJ. 183 (13): 1496–500. doi:10.1503/cmaj.101522. PMC 3176842. PMID 21540168.
  2. ^ a b "Tackling Obesity in Canada: Obesity and Excess Weight Rates in Canadian Adults". 2017-01-22. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  3. ^ "Tackling obesity in Canada: Childhood obesity and excess weight rates in Canada". Public Health Agency of Canada. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  4. ^ "World Rankings: Obesity Rates by Country (July 2017)". Renew Bariatrics. 2017-09-23. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  5. ^ "34% of Canadian adults will be obese by 2025, and it will cost billions: report". Global News. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  6. ^ "Canada Obesity Statistics, Facts 2017 - Renew Bariatrics". Renew Bariatrics. 2017-08-08. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  7. ^ "The Report Card On Access To Obesity Treatment For Adults In Canada 2017". Obesity Canada. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Canada, Public Health Agency of (2018-01-31). "Tackling obesity in Canada: Childhood obesity and excess weight rates in Canada". aem. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  9. ^ Rao, D. P.; Kropac, E.; Do, M. T.; Roberts, K. C.; Jayaraman, G. C. (September 2016). "Childhood overweight and obesity trends in Canada". Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada: Research, Policy and Practice. 36 (9): 194–198. doi:10.24095/hpcdp.36.9.03. ISSN 2368-738X. PMC 5129778. PMID 27670922.
  10. ^ Blackboard. "Blackboard Learn". ic.galegroup.com.ezproxyles.flo.org. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  11. ^ https://www.heartandstroke.ca/-/media/pdf-files/canada/2017-heart-month/heartandstroke-reportonhealth2017.ashx[bare URL PDF]
  12. ^ Satkunam, Meloja; Anderson, Laura N.; Carsley, Sarah; Maguire, Jonathon L.; Parkin, Patricia C.; Sprague, Ann E.; Ball, Geoff D. C.; Birken, Catherine S. (August 2018). "Severe obesity in children 17 to 24 months of age: a cross-sectional study of TARGet Kids! and Better Outcomes Registry & Network (BORN) Ontario". Canadian Journal of Public Health. 109 (4): 489–497. doi:10.17269/s41997-018-0065-2. PMC 6964366. PMID 29981101.
  13. ^ Carsley, Sarah E.; Anderson, Laura N.; Plumptre, Lesley; Parkin, Patricia C.; Maguire, Jonathon L.; Birken, Catherine S. (October 2017). "Severe Obesity, Obesity, and Cardiometabolic Risk in Children 0 to 6 Years of Age". Childhood Obesity. 13 (5): 415–424. doi:10.1089/chi.2017.0004. PMID 30418801. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  14. ^ Carsley, Sarah E.; Anderson, Laura N.; Plumptre, Lesley; Parkin, Patricia C.; Maguire, Jonathon L.; Birken, Catherine S. (June 6, 2017). "Severe Obesity, Obesity, and Cardiometabolic Risk in Children 0 to 6 Years of Age". Childhood Obesity (Print). 13 (5): 415–424. doi:10.1089/chi.2017.0004. ISSN 2153-2176. PMID 30418801. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  15. ^ Carsley, Sarah E.; Anderson, Laura N.; Plumptre, Lesley; Parkin, Patricia C.; Maguire, Jonathon L.; Birken, Catherine S. (June 6, 2017). "Severe Obesity, Obesity, and Cardiometabolic Risk in Children 0 to 6 Years of Age". Childhood Obesity (Print). 13 (5): 415–424. doi:10.1089/chi.2017.0004. ISSN 2153-2176. PMID 30418801.
  16. ^ "Statistics Canada data shows percentage of obese children has fallen nationally | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  17. ^ "Gale - Enter Product Login". go.galegroup.com. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  18. ^ WikiMemoires (2012-10-29). "L'obésité et le surpoids chez les jeunes au Canada". WikiMemoires (in French). Jules Dessureault, Thesis presented as a partial requirement for the master's degree in economics - 2019, University of Quebec in Montreal. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  19. ^ a b c Shields, Margot; Shields, Margot; Tjepkema, Michael (August 2006). "Regional differences in obesity" (PDF). Health Reports. Statistics Canada. 17 (3): 61–7. PMID 16981487. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  20. ^ "The Obesity Epidemic in Canada, July 15, 2005".
  21. ^ Fiorillo, Nicole (2021-11-21). "Public acceptance of sin taxes on sugar or fat not dependent on evidence". SimplyWell.ca. Retrieved 2021-12-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External linksEdit