Canadian obesity rates on the rise

July 6, 2005 in Nutrition Topics in the News

Canadian obesity rates on the rise

According to a report released by Statistics Canada this week, obesity rates among Canadian adults and children are rising substantially. The report, which compared height and weight measurements of Canadians over the past 25 years, found that Canadians young and old are getting heavier.

In 1978/1979, 3 percent of children aged 2 to 17 were obese, by 2004 this number had increased to 8 percent. Among adults, these figures also increased, with the percentage of obese adults rising from 14 percent in 1978/1979 to 23 percent in 2004.

Despite these high numbers, Canadians still remain slimmer than their neighbours to the South. While 23 percent of Canadian adults are obese, the rate was nearly 30 percent for Americans.

Statistics Canada calculated the rates of being overweight and obesity using the body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in metres squared. 

For adults, a BMI of 25 or more indicates overweight and an increased risk of developing health problems; 30 or more indicates obesity and a high to extremely high risk of developing health problems.

The likelihood of being obese was related to diet and exercise. Adults who ate fruit and vegetables less than three times a day were more likely to be obese than those who consumed them five or more times a day. Study participants who were sedentary were up to 7 percent more likely to be obese than those who were physically active.

The full report can be viewed on the Statistics Canada website at

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