Obesity in Canada
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Obesity in Canada is a growing health concern, which is "expected to surpass smoking as the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality … and represents a burden of Can$3.96 (US$3.04/€2.75) billion on the Canadian economy each year."
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. 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. Studies suggest that if Canada invests $4.2 billion in treatment for obesity, the obesity rate could be significantly reduced to 29%. In children, obesity has substantially increased between 1978 and 2017, with obesity rates in children increasing from 23% to 30%.
Lack of aid
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.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, as of 2017, 30% of children aged 5-17 are overweight or obese. In 2016, 1 in 7 children in Canada were reported to be obese. Making almost a third of youth overweight. Since 1979, the rates of childhood obesity have tripled. In result of this increase, children 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. 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.
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.
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. Obesity in such populated areas often affects young adults, ages ranging from 16 to 21. Studies shows that an individual who's going through extensive learning often binges on food to help release stress. People dealing with stress usually find eating as 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."
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