Canadians in general are becoming more and more obese and its levels are at a historic high, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia who have built an "Obesity Map" that scales obesity levels in different areas of the country.
At least one quarter of Canadians qualify in the obese category, having body mass index of 30 or greater, the study that provides a comprehensive look at the obesity rate across the country has concluded.
"Being obese or overweight significantly increases the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers," Prof. Carolyn Gotay, the lead author of the study said, adding: "Our analysis shows that more Canadians are obese than ever before - on average, between one fourth and one third of Canadians are obese, depending on the region."
The Atlantic Maritime provinces and the territories - Nunavut and the Northwest territories - have the highest rates of obesity with about one in three adults obese. Although BC is still the slimmest of all regions, the obesity has increased to almost 25 percent.
In Quebec, the rate was same as that in BC with 24 percent increase.
According to Gotay, mapping the regional rates of obesity provides easy-to-read visual snapshots that could help public, researchers and policy makers identify regions needing high priority in fighting the obesity epidemic.
The study was published Wednesday in the Canadian Journal of Public Health and it used data from the Canadian Community Health Survey which researches amended to arrive at a more precise obesity estimate.
The study has revealed that over the 11-year study period, the greatest increase in weight occurred between 2000 and 2007.
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