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Weight of the Nation: Understanding Canada’s Obesity Epidemic

Posted by | 15-03-2020

It seems Canadian adults are getting fatter, according to numbers from Statistics Canada. More than one in three adults (30%) has obesity, and may require medical intervention to help manage their disease. Although the United States has the most grim prognosis, Canada is not far behind -- with health experts calling the prevalence of being overweight an ‘epidemic’. 

At Physiomed, our goal is to promote weight control through exercise and smart dietary habits. However, a greater understanding of Canada’s obesity epidemic is necessary in motivating our patients to be active and make better lifestyle choices. That’s why we’re dedicating this blog to exploring how excess weight is affecting the average Canadian, and the impact obesity is having across the country. 

Report: If not dealt with, obesity will cost us billions

Obesity is defined as the condition of being grossly overweight. Health professionals officially diagnose someone as ‘obese’ if they’re more than 20% above their ideal weight. Based on that criteria, the World Obesity Foundation took an in-depth look at what obesity rates will look like globally in the coming years.

By the year 2025, 34% of Canadians will be obese. By that same year, the organization estimates that, globally, there will be 2.7 billion people overweight or obese. To put that into perspective -- that’s a third of the Earth’s population. 

When you carry excess weight, you’re putting yourself at risk for many serious health conditions. They include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis and even cancer. A UK study shows severely obese people in middle age are 50% more likely to die early. With obesity rates almost tripling in the past 30 years worldwide, researchers say that finding has serious implications on public health. 

The WOF report suggests governments need to act if they’re to reduce this burden on the overall economy. If Canada, for example, invests $4.2 billion to treat obesity -- there could be a reduction of Canadians dealing with this problem by nearly 30%. Researchers say health officials must also focus more on offering treatment services to those already living with obesity, as well as prevention and intervention measures. 

Treating Obesity: How is Canada doing?

In 2017, Obesity Canada released a high-profile report card on how well our healthcare system is delivering treatment to obese Canadians. One of its key criticisms was that adults were often expected to pay out-of-pocket for key treatments, such as medically-supervised weight management programs and anti-obesity medications.

For example, patients could be expected to pay between $1,000 and $2,000 for the meal-replacement portion of the OPTIFASTⓇ initiative. And when it comes to the most popular medications, the report card says less than 20% of Canadians with drug benefit plans have access to them through their coverage. For that, the report card gave an F-grading across all provinces and territories.

Canadian health advocates believe obesity treatment should be covered by public health care or private insurance. They also say there should be more straight-forward ways of seeking help, including easier access to hospital staff, medical devices and pharmaceutical drugs. 

Fighting Obesity with Physiomed

If you’re worried about excess weight, Physiomed can help you tackle obesity and pursue a healthier life. Instead of relying on crash diets and workout fads, our interdisciplinary approach is what makes the difference. From clinical conditioning to nutritional counselling, our healthcare professionals have the expertise to get those pounds under control. And if you have a child struggling with weight, our proactive approach to health education can help children feel better and form the correct life-long habits.

For more information on weight loss and obesity or to book an assessment, contact us here.

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Dr. Scott Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of Physiomed; one of Canada’s largest franchised networks of inter-disciplinary healthcare clinics. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Wilson founded Physiomed in 1994 and has since grown Physiomed to over 30 clinics in Southern Ontario and British Columbia. With hundreds of practitioners from over a dozen disciplines, Dr. Wilson and Physiomed have helped over 100,000 Canadians with physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, orthotic therapy, compression therapy and clinical conditioning as part of a program of rehabilitation and health optimization. In addition to helping patients improve their physical and mental well-being, Dr. Wilson has also mentored hundreds of practitioners to provide better care while enjoying more fulfilling careers. He is also a keynote speaker on many health related topics including how physiotherapy, chiropractic and health & wellness treatment can help with stress, weight loss, and unlocking the true potential within to achieve lasting physical well-being.

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