Obesity Rates have Tripled
Obese Cdns may soon weigh down our health care system.
by Ian Campbell
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Canada’s got a growing problem on its hands — our waistlines!
According to a new study, this country’s obesity rates have tripled in less than 30 years and they are showing no signs of slowing down.
In fact, by the year 2019 the study estimates five provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) will have more adults who are overweight than those who have a healthier gait.
Author Dr. Laurie Twells looked at the national and provincial data from a number of health surveys and Statistics Canada between 1985 and 2011. “One of the key things is to try and learn what’s happening right across the country and whether some provinces can learn from others in terms of best practice.”
She warns many tend to under-report their height and weight, so this could be just the tip of the iceberg.
“It’s just the way that people are living,” Twells explains. “It’s the way lives have changed over the last two or three decades in terms of more sedentary lifestyles, the type of work we do and the types of food we eat.”
Bodybreak’s Hal Johnson isn’t surprised. The fitness expert, who’s been urging Canadians to “keep fit and have fun” for decades, chalks it all up to an increase in calorie intake and new technology keeping us less active.
“We’re really finding it’s the soft drinks, it’s the pops, it’s the liquids that have the high amounts of sugar,” he tells us. “Sugar is one of the main culprits.”
Johnson says the ball is in the government’s court; he’s urging policy makers to put in place incentives, even a tax on unhealthy food.
“They can put lipstick on a pig but having a Coke is still bad for you regardless of what type of promotion and campaign,” he says.
The study acknowledges various national, provincial and local programs aimed at encouraging healthier lifestyles and weight management but it explains it’s difficult to know which ones, if any, will be effective. It’s calling for an “improved understanding of why such substantial interprovincial variations exist.”
Ontario, for example, is compelling restaurants to publish the calorie count of meals on their menus.
Critics say the results of interventions like this could be years away, if they even work at all.
According to the study, obesity can bring on health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer and comes with an annual cost in Canada between 4.6 and 7.1 billion.
“We all have the same amount of will power, it’s whatever habits we have,” says Johnson. “And that’s what is so critical for our children.”
Source: VANCOUVER (NEWS1130)