Obesity and the eating habits of the Aboriginal population

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by Didier Garriguet



This article compares rates of overweight/obesity and obesity and food consumption patterns of off-reserve Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people aged 19 to 50 in Ontario and the western provinces.

Data sources

The data are from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey:  Nutrition (cycle 2.2).

Analytical techniques

Cross-sectional analyses were used to estimate the percentages of individuals who were overweight/obese or obese and average nutrient consumption, based on Aboriginal identity and other selected characteristics. Logistic regression was used to determine the independent influence of Aboriginal identity on overweight/obesity and obesity.

Main results

In 2004, the overweight/obesity and obesity rates of off-reserve Aboriginal people aged 19 to 50 were higher than those of the non-Aboriginal population. These overall differences primarily reflected higher rates of overweight/obesity and obesity among Aboriginal women. At ages 19 to 30, these differences can partly be explained by higher calorie intake by Aboriginal women, despite identical energy needs, based on height, weight, age and physical activity. Most of the excess calories are eaten as snacks and come from "other foods."


Aboriginal, nutrition, obesity, physical activity, diet


During the past 25 years, the prevalence of obesity in Canada has risen steadily. This increase is part of a global phenomenon that the World Health Organization has described as an epidemic. Obesity is recognized as a risk factor for a variety of serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.  [Full text]


Didier Garriguet
Health Information and Research Division
Statistics Canada,
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0T6
Telephon: 613-951-7187
Email: didier.garriguet@statcan.gc.ca