Obesity in Canada


The Obesity in Canada report is a joint partnership between the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

Released on June 20, 2011, this report provides:

  • Obesity rates among adults, children and youth, and Aboriginal Peoples;
  • New analysis of the determinants of obesity and the impacts that addressing those determinants can have on the prevalence of obesity;
  • An updated estimate of the health and economic costs of obesity; and
  • A summary of key lessons learned from the international literature on obesity prevention and management.

Report highlights:

  • Approximately one in four Canadian adults are obese, according to measured height and weight data from 2007-2009. Of children and youth aged six to 17, 8.6% are obese.
  • Between 1981 and 2007/09, obesity rates roughly doubled among both males and females in most age groups in the adult and youth categories.
  • Across Canada, adult obesity rates vary from 5.3% in Richmond, BC to 35.9% in the Mamawetan/Keewatin/Athabasca region of SK.
  • The economic costs of obesity are estimated at $4.6 billion in 2008, up about 19% from $3.9 billion in 2000, based on costs associated with the eight chronic diseases most consistently linked to obesity. Estimates rise to close to $7.1 billion when based on the costs associated with 18 chronic diseases linked to obesity.
  • Factors that influence obesity include physical activity, diet, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, immigration, and environmental factors.
  • Strategies to combat obesity and address the environments that encourage obesity fall into three main categories:
    1. health services and clinical interventions that target individuals;
    2. community-level interventions that directly influence individual and group behaviours;
    3. public policies that target broad social or environmental determinants.
  • Like quitting smoking, effectively preventing obesity may require a multifaceted, long-term approach involving complementary interventions that operate at multiple levels.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

Page details

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