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Public health initiatives needed to address obesity and unhealthy weights

August 27th, 2015 | by Canadian Association
Public health initiatives needed to address obesity and unhealthy weights

November 21, 2014

A recent report regarding the global cost of obesity offers another critical reminder that Canada is not alone when it comes to a rapid increase in unhealthy weights and obesity, highlighting the need for a comprehensive approach to the issue.

Currently, 61 per cent of adult Canadians are either overweight or obese. There has also been a dramatic increase in unhealthy weights in children. In 2007, Statistics Canada found that 31.5 per cent of adolescents had unhealthy weights. This changes the health trajectory for these individuals. If current trends continue, by 2040, up to 70 per cent of adults aged 40 years will be either overweight or obese. While many risk factors for type 2 diabetes are not modifiable (i.e. family history, ethnicity, age), some risk factors like being overweight or obese can be addressed.

“The magnitude of the problem revealed in the report makes it clear that approaches to promote healthy weights that target the individual, healthy public policy and the environment are essential,” says Dr. Jan Hux, chief science officer at the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA). “Public health approaches that address chronic disease risk awareness and education, food security, and facilitation of an active lifestyle‎ are needed.”

The causes of obesity and being overweight in Canada are multifactorial and complex. The development of unhealthy weights is influenced by social and economic factors, such as an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. The CDA has called for a multi-pronged approach to promoting healthy weights in the report “Diabetes: Canada at the Tipping Points – Charting a New Path.”

About the CDA

More than nine million Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes, and the CDA is the registered charity that helps them manage their disease as effectively as possible while also seeking to help Canadians in preventing or delaying the development of type 2 diabetes. The CDA:

  • offers a wide array of support services to members of the public;
  • offers resources to health-care professionals on best practices to care for people with diabetes;
  • advocates to governments, schools, workplaces and others on behalf of people with diabetes; and,
  • funds research on better treatments and to find a cure.

For more information, visit diabetes.ca or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).

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