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Canada Obesity Statistics, Facts 2017

Obesity News

Canada Obesity Statistics

Seven million Canadians are living with obesity, but according to the Canadian Obesity Network, there is not enough support for providing access to treatment. As much as obesity is recognized as a chronic disease, besides being told to lose weight by your doctor you’re pretty much on your own.

Seven million Canadians are living with obesity, but according to the Canadian Obesity Network, there is not enough support for providing access to treatment. As much as obesity is recognized as a chronic disease, besides being told to lose weight by your doctor you’re pretty much on your own.

1.5 million Canadians are severely obese and have health complications ranging from high blood pressure to diabetes to heart disease.
The focus of the medical community in Canada is mainly to treat complications arising from obesity. It would be more prudent to target the causes of obesity instead.

One in three Canadian children are either overweight or obese and less than 10% of all Canadian children aged between 5 and 17 years old is getting the recommended daily physical activity of 60 minutes.
These startling statistics have prompted the Government of Canada to invest in over $3.1 million to encourage families and children to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine, eat healthily and minimize sedentary lifestyles.

This digital project involves a mobile app and online tool to encourage Canadians to get proper rest, incorporate tasks and games to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary lifestyles and to focus on healthy eating habits at home, school and work environments.

Childhood obesity

Today’s children and the youth are being bombarded by food and beverage marketing every day of the week, at all hours. These marketing strategies have found their way to the targeted markets through video games, websites, apps and social media platforms.

Kids are targeted on the street, in recreational centers, in restaurants, at home, in school and even through the numerous celebrity endorsements. It’s everywhere, and it’s on all the time. 71% of Canadians feel that the food and beverage industry spend so much money targeting kids that parents have a difficult period at home influencing their children’s healthy eating habits.

Canadians can protect their children by:

  • Reducing children’s screen time.
  • Preparing homemade meals often together with the children.
  • Eating balanced diets and consuming fewer sugary drinks and processed foods.

Promoting and encouraging policies that are geared towards creating healthier environments for children and restricting food and beverage marketing activities geared towards children.

Treatment Options in Canada

There are treatment options in Canada but these however still come with limitations:

There are only 40 Canadian physicians who have formal training to address weight management and obesity out of a total of 80,500 doctors. Weight-management programs that are medically supervised are few and those which are available cost between $1000 and $2000 which is out of reach for most patients. They are also typically used as a pre-surgery weight loss strategy for patients about to go through bariatric surgery.

There are only two anti-obesity drugs approved in Canada. Anti-obesity medications are not covered by any territorial or provincial benefit plan.

Bariatric surgery is only performed in 9 provinces in Canada, and there are only 113 surgeons and 33 centers where it can be undertaken. Furthermore, only 1 in 183 Canadian adults are eligible for bariatric surgery.

Obesity has not been recognized as a chronic disease by the federal government or territorial/provincial governments despite its recognition by the Canadian Medical Association.

  • Coverage for anti-obesity medications is available to less than 20% of individuals who have private drug benefit plans.
  • Access to mental health support and exercise therapy for obesity management is limited to the primary care level.
  • Patients who qualify for bariatric surgery can sometimes wait up to 5 years before meeting a specialist or having the surgery.

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our editorial team strives to present both sides of the argument with in-depth analysis and links to resources.

This article contains scientific and health-related references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.