-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, March 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Like their
neighbors to the south, Canadians are getting fat.
A new study reports that obesity rates in the country tripled in
less than three decades, and estimates that more than one in five
Canadians will be obese by 2019.
Researchers reviewed health surveys dating back to 1985. By
2011, they found 18 percent of Canadians were obese, up from 6
percent in 1985. People older than 40 were more likely than younger
people to be overweight or obese, the researchers found. They also
noted a significant increase in the percentage of severely obese
Almost 36 percent of people in the United States are obese,
meaning they have a body-mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. BMI is a
measurement of body fat based on height and weight.
Obesity rates increased in all Canadian provinces, but some had
larger increases than others, according to the study, which was
published online March 3 in the journal
Obesity rates were lower in the west and higher in the east,
with the highest rates in Newfoundland, Labrador and New
Obesity is categorized as class I, class II and class III, with
class III being the most severe. During the study period, rates of
class III obesity rose 433 percent.
"Although class I obesity appears to be increasing at a slower rate in Canada, the rate for the higher classes of obesity continue to increase disproportionately, a finding consistent with other studies," the researchers said in a journal news release.
"These results raise concern at a policy level, because people in these obesity classes are at a much higher risk of developing complex care needs," they noted.
Overall, 21 percent of Canadians will be obese by 2019, but the
rates will vary from a low of nearly 16 percent in British Columbia
to a high of nearly 35 percent in Newfoundland and Labrador,
according to the study.
Obesity poses serious long-term health risks, such as diabetes
and heart disease. The annual cost of obesity in Canada is
estimated at between $4.6 billion and $7.1 billion, according to
Dr. L.K. Twells, an associate professor in the School of Pharmacy
and Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University in St. John's,
Newfoundland, and colleagues.
The researchers said further research is needed to determine how
best to reduce Canada's obesity rate and to find out why obesity
rates vary so much in different parts of the country.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
overweight and obesity.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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