Are we breeding a culture of obesity?

November 26, 2000

Flopping on the couch with the remote in hand or remaining glued to the computer screen for hours on end are helping to create a society of obesity in Canada, a series of articles and commentaries featured in the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal indicate.

In their analysis of body mass index (BMI) data compiled in 3 national databases, Mark Tremblay and Douglas Willms found that the number of obese children in Canada has more than doubled since 1981. In 1981, 15% of children were overweight, while 5% were obese. In 1996, 28.8% of boys and 23.6% of girls were overweight, while 13.5% of boys and 11.8% of girls were obese.

In a related commentary, Ross Anderson discusses causes, including the sacrifice of physician-education programs due to budgetary restraint.

The poor dietary habits learned in childhood come home to roost later in life. Peter Katzmarzyk and colleagues report that about $2.1-billion, or 2.5% of Canada's direct health care costs, were attributable to physical inactivity in 1999. To put this in context, the authors point out that cigarette smoking accounted for 3.8% of total health care costs in 1992.

The calculation is based on a summary of relative-risk estimates for coronary artery disease, stroke, colon cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus and osteoporosis. The authors suggest that reducing the prevalence of inactivity by just 10% could reduce health care costs by $150 million a year.

In a related editorial, Robert Kaman suggests that while telling people about the economic savings for the health care system is not likely to motivate individual change, that is no reason to give up. "Even if we can't precisely quantify the economic gains of increasing physical activity, we should continue to provide the best rationale and incentives to encourage participation in the best fitness programs we can," writes Kaman.
-end-
Secular trends in the body mass index of Canadian children*
-- M.S. Tremblay, J.D. Willms*

The economic burden of physical inactivity in Canada**
-- P.T. Katzmarzyk, N. Gledhill, R.J. Shephard

The spread of the childhood obesity epidemic
-- R.E. Andersen

Will increasing fiscal resources promote physical fitness?
-- R.L. Kaman

Direct Contacts:
Dr. Mark Tremblay, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton; tel 506-453-5064 email: tremblay@unb.ca
Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, North York, Ont.; 416-736-2100 x30308. Email: katzmarz@yorku.ca
Dr. Ross Andersen, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore; 410-550-3540. Email: andersen@jhmi.edu
Dr. Robert Kaman, Director of Health Promotion, University of Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX; tel 817-735-2029 email: kaman@hsc.unt.edu

* Supported by the Canadian Population Health Initiative of the Canadian Institute for Health Information
** Supported in part by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and Health Canada

Canadian Medical Association Journal

Related Obesity Articles from Brightsurf:

11 years of data add to the evidence for using testosterone therapy to treat obesity, including as an alternative to obesity surgery
New research covering 11 years of data presented at this year's European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) show that, in obese men suffering from hypogonadism (low testosterone), treatment with testosterone injections lowers their weight and improves a wide range of other metabolic parameters.

Overlap between immunology of COVID-19 and obesity could explain the increased risk of death in people living with obesity, and also older patients
Data presented in a special COVID-19 session at the European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) suggests that there are overlaps between the immunological disturbances found in both COVID-19 disease and patients with obesity, which could explain the increased disease severity and mortality risk faced by obese patients, and also elderly patients, who are infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

New obesity guideline: Address root causes as foundation of obesity management
besity management should focus on outcomes that patients consider to be important, not weight loss alone, and include a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of obesity, according to a new clinical practice guideline published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.191707.

Changing the debate around obesity
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) needs to do more to address the ingrained stigma and discrimination faced by people with obesity, says a leading health psychologist.

Study links longer exposure to obesity and earlier development of obesity to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Cumulative exposure to obesity could be at least as important as actually being obese in terms of risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), concludes new research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]).

How much do obesity and addictions overlap?
A large analysis of personality studies has found that people with obesity behave somewhat like people with addictions to alcohol or drugs.

Should obesity be recognized as a disease?
With obesity now affecting almost a third (29%) of the population in England, and expected to rise to 35% by 2030, should we now recognize it as a disease?

Is obesity associated with risk of pediatric MS?
A single-center study of 453 children in Germany with multiple sclerosis (MS) investigated the association of obesity with pediatric MS risk and with the response of first-line therapy in children with MS.

Women with obesity prior to conception are more likely to have children with obesity
A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published June 11, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.

Obesity medicine association announces major updates to its adult obesity algorithm
The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) announced the immediate availability of the 2019 OMA Adult Obesity Algorithm, with new information for clinicians including the relationship between Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia, and Cancer; information on investigational Anti-Obesity Pharmacotherapy; treatments for Lipodystrophy; and Pharmacokinetics and Obesity.

Read More: Obesity News and Obesity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.