Obesity Rates Growing: Poll
Written By: Kevin Connor
WEDNESDAY, Mar 31st 2010 (Toronto Sun) — There is a reason why Toronto is called Hogtown — 44% of Torontonians are overweight or obese.
But we aren’t alone.
The Heart and stroke Foundation says that in the past 30 years, obesity rates in Canada have doubled and, in some age groups, even tripled.
“Obesity and overweight have become one of the leading public health concerns in Canada,” said Dr. Marco Di Buono, research director for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, which recently polled 2,000 Canadians to reach its conclusions.
“We know that within the past 30 years, the prevalence of obesity doubled among those ages 40 to 69 and tripled among those 20 to 39,” he added.
Canadians, aged 20 to 39, are a new at-risk group because 3 million are couch potatoes, 2.5 million are fat, and 2 million are smokers.
“Excess weight and extra body fat around your waist can lead to high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and type 2 diabetes, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke,” Di Buono said.
Half of the overweight people in that age group reported they spend money on gym memberships and diet programs to try to lose weight.
Across the board, four out of every 10 overweight Canadians spend money trying to slim down.
Many Canadians have resorted to quick fix methods — diets that restrict certain foods or meal replacement bars and diet shakes — to shed the pounds. Only about one-quarter of overweight people sought counselling from a doctor or dietitian.
If a person loses weight, the biggest challenge is keeping the pounds off.
Without support, nine out of 10 overweight people will put the weight back on and some will even add extra pounds.
“We all want immediate gratification when it comes to losing weight and research has shown that the quick fix is not the way to go if you want to keep it off,” said Carol Dombrow, a registered dietitian.
“Fad diets tend to eliminate certain essential and nutritional food groups such as fat or carbohydrates. The bottom line is that fad diets don’t work in the long term. People can’t keep them up forever and the weight tends to come back,” she added. “More importantly, there is little research about the long-term health effects of fad diets.”
The survey found that only one in four overweight Canadians sought out the help of a professional to shed pounds.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation has introduced the Heart&Stroke Healthy Weight Action Plan — a free, personalized, 12-session online resource — to help Canadians achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Go to www.heartandstroke.ca/hwplan.