Abstract

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Background
Keywords
Findings
Authors

Background

The 2009 to 2011 Canadian Health Measures Survey provides the most recent measured body mass index (BMI) data for children and adolescents. However, different methodologies exist for classifying BMI among children and youth. Based on the most recent World Health Organization classification, nearly a third of 5- to 17-year-olds were overweight or obese. The prevalence of obesity differed between boys and girls (15.1% versus 8.0%), most notably those aged 5 to 11, among whom the percentage of obese boys (19.5%) was more than three times that of obese girls (6.3%). These estimates indicate a higher prevalence of overweight/obesity among children than do estimates based on International Obesity Task Force cut-offs. Although the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children in Canada has not increased over the last decade, it remains a public health concern, given the tendency for excess weight to persist through to adulthood and lead to negative health outcomes.

Keywords

Body mass index, child, adolescent, population surveillance

Findings

Since the late 1970s, the prevalence of overweight and obesity has risen among children and adolescents in Canada. Excess weight in childhood has been linked to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, poor emotional health, and diminished social well-being. As well, obese children tend to become obese adults, making childhood obesity a public health concern. [Full Text]

Authors

Karen C. Roberts (1-613-946-5436; karen.c.roberts@phac-aspc.gc.ca) and Margaret de Groh are with the Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Branch at the Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0K9. Margot Shields was formerly with the Health Analysis Division at Statistics Canada. Alfred Aziz and Jo-Anne Gilbert are with the Health Products and Food Branch at Health Canada.