At rates of over 60% according to Statistics Canada, more Canadians are overweight than not. Moreover, almost one in 4 Canadians have obesity. In Canada, for the past two decades, assessments of fitness levels of Canadians have relied almost exclusively on the body mass index (BMI) because it can easily be calculated from height and weight. The BMI has shown that Canadian adults have become heavier over the past 25 years. In fact, even our perception of healthy weight has changed: as everybody is getting bigger, the weight we see as “normal” is higher. Obesity is growing worldwide, but today we will keep our focus on Canada as that is where our lab is located!
One in 4 adult Canadians, or about 6.3 million people, have obesity in 2011–2012. Since 2003, the proportion of Canadians who have obesity has increased 17.5%.
More men than women were obese. Obesity has increased more for men than women over the past eight years.
The lowest proportions of people with obesity were found in Canada’s three largest cities (Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver) and in areas of southern British Columbia; the highest levels were found in Atlantic Canada, the Prairies, and the Territories, and smaller cities in northern and southwestern Ontario.
Population of Canadian with Obesity
In 2014, 20.2% of Canadians aged 18 and older, roughly 5.3 million adults, reported height and weight that classified them as obese. The rate of adults who reported height and weight that classified them as overweight in 2014 was 40.0% for men and 27.5% for women. The percentage of men who were overweight was about the same as in 2012, but was a decrease from 41.9% in 2013. The rate among women has been stable since 2003.
Obesity in Canada: Women vs Men
The rate of obesity among men increased to 21.8% in 2014, from 20.1% in 2013, and is the highest obesity rate for men reported since 2003 (in 2003, 16.0% of males had obesity). Among women, the rate of obesity in 2014 (18.7%) was an increase over 2013 and also up significantly from 2003 when it was 14.5%.
Obesity in Canada – Snapshot (Public Health Agency of Canada 2011)
Obesity in Canada – Snapshot (Public Health Agency of Canada 2009)