Overweight and obese adults (self-reported), 2009

Obesity has been linked with many chronic diseases, including hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer.1

To assess the health risks of obesity, the World Health Organization and Health Canada use guidelines based on Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure that examines weight in relation to height. BMI is defined as weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters (Table 1). BMI is calculated for the population 18 years and older, excluding pregnant women.

Table 1
Weight ranges for underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese for selected heights
Height Underweight
(increased risk of health problems)
Normal weight Overweight
(increased risk of health problems)
Obese
(high to extremely high risk of health problems)
5'4" (1.63 m) less than 107.5 lb. (48.8 kg) 107.6 to 145.2 lb. (48.9 to 66.0 kg) 145.3 to 174.3 lb. (66.1 to 79.2 kg) 174.4 lb. (79.3 kg) or more
5'8" (1.73 m) less than 121.3 lb. (55.1 kg) 121.4 to 164.0 lb. (55.2 to 74.5 kg) 164.1 to 196.8 lb. (74.6 to 89.4 kg) 196.9 lb. (89.5 kg) or more
6'0" (1.83 m) less than 136.0 lb. (61.8 kg) 136.1 to 183.8 lb. (61.9 to 83.5 kg) 183.9 to 220.6 lb. (83.6 to 100.2 kg) 220.7 lb. (100.3 kg) or more

BMI can be used to compare body weight patterns and related health risks within and between populations, and to establish population trends. For an individual, this measure should be used with caution because the health risks associated with each BMI category vary considerably between individuals. Particular caution is warranted when classifying adults who are naturally very lean or very muscular, some ethnic and racial groups, and seniors.

The results shown here are based on weight and height as reported by survey respondents. Comparisons of self-reported weight and height with actual measurements have shown that women are inclined to underestimate their weight, while men tend to overestimate their height. Moreover, underreporting of weight increases proportionately with BMI (see "Estimates of obesity based on self-report versus direct measures" in Health Reports). The report found that the obesity rate was 7.4 percentage points higher and the overweight rate was 1.9 percentage points higher when based on measured height and weight rather than self-reported data.

In 2009, 17.9% of Canadians aged 18 and older, roughly 4.4 million adults, reported height and weight that classified them as obese, virtually unchanged from 2008. However, from 2003 to 2009, obesity among men rose from 16.0% to 19.0%, and among women, from 14.5% to 16.7% (Chart 1).

When those who were overweight were included, 59.2% of Canadian men and 43.9% of women were at increased health risk because of excess weight.

The rates of overweight were stable from 2003 to 2009.

Chart 1
Percentage who self-reported being obese and overweight, by sex, household population aged 18 and older, Canada, 2003 to 2009

Description

Chart 1: Percentage who self-reported being obese and overweight, by sex, household population aged 18 and older, Canada, 2003 to 2009

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The proportion of residents who were obese was lower than the national average in British Columbia (13.6%) and Quebec (16.9%). In Ontario, Alberta and Yukon, obesity rates were about the same as the national average. In all other provinces and territories, the obesity rate was significantly above the national average.

In the middle age groups from 20 to 54, significantly more men than women were obese. Among both sexes, 18– to 19–year olds had the lowest obesity rate, followed by 20– to 34–year olds (Chart 2).

Chart 2
Percentage who self-reported being obese, by age group and sex, household population aged 18 and older, Canada 2009

Description

Chart 2: Percentage who self-reported being obese, by age group and sex, household population aged 18 and older, Canada 2009

Note: E use with caution (coefficient of variation 16.6% to 33.3%)

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2009.

In successively older age groups from 18 to 64, the percentage of Canadians of normal weight declined significantly (Chart 3), and the percentage in the combined overweight–obese category rose significantly.

Seniors (65 and older) had a combined overweight–obesity rate that was lower than the 55–to–64 age group and about the same as the 45–to–54 age group.

Chart 3
Percentage who self-reported being underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese, by age group, household population aged 18 and over, Canada, 2009

Description

Chart 3: Percentage who self-reported being underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese, by age group, household population aged 18 and over, Canada, 2009

Note: E use with caution (coefficient of variation 16.6% to 33.3%)

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2009.


End notes

1. Tjepkema, Michael. 2006. "Adult Obesity." Health Reports. Vol. 17, no. 3. August. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 9. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2006/9276-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).

References

Connor Gorber, Sarah, Margot Shields, Mark S.Tremblay and Ian McDowell. 2008. "The feasibility of establishing correction factors to adjust self–reported estimates of obesity." Health Reports. Vol. 19, no. 3. September. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. /bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?lang=eng&catno=82-003-X200800310680 (accessed May 10, 2010).

Garriguet, Didier. 2008. "Obesity and the eating habits of the Aboriginal population." Health Reports. Vol. 19, no. 1. March. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. /bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?lang=eng&catno=82-003-X200800110487 (accessed May 10, 2010).

Le Petit, Christel and Jean–Marie Berthelot. 2006. "Obesity—a growing issue." Health Reports. Vol. 17, no. 3. June. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 43–50. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2006/9278-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).

Orpana, Heather M., Mark S.Tremblay and Philippe Finès. 2007. "Trends in weight change among Canadian adults." Health Reports. Vol. 18, no. 2. May. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. /bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?lang=eng&catno=82-003-X20060059633 (accessed May 10, 2010).

Shields, Margot, Sarah Connor Gorber and Mark S Tremblay. 2008. "Estimates of obesity based on self–report versus direct measures." Health Reports. Vol. 19, no. 2. June. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. /bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?lang=eng&catno=82-003-X200800210569 (accessed May 10, 2010).

Shields, Margot, Sarah Connor Gorber and Mark S. Tremblay. 2008. "Effects of measurement on obesity and morbidity." Health Reports. Vol. 19, no. 2. June. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. /pub/82-003-x/2008002/article/10564-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).

Shields, Margot and Mark S. Tremblay. 2008. "Screen time among Canadian adults: A profile." Health Reports. Vol. 19, no. 2. June. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. /bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?lang=eng&catno=82-003-X200800210600 (accessed May 10, 2010).

Shields, Margot and Mark S. Tremblay. 2008. "Sedentary behaviour and obesity among Canadian adults." Health Reports. Vol. 19, no. 2. June. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. /bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?lang=eng&catno=82-003-X200800210599 (accessed May 10, 2010).

Shields, Margot. 2006. "Overweight and obesity among children and youth." Health Reports. Vol. 17, no. 3. August. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 27–42. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2006/9277-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010)

Shields, Margot and Michael Tjepkema. 2006. "Trends in adult obesity." Health Reports. Vol. 17, no. 3. August. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 53–59. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2006/9279-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).

Shields, Margot and Michael Tjepkema. 2006. "Regional differences in obesity." Health Reports. Vol. 17, no. 3. August. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 61–67. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2006/9280-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).

Tjepkema, Michael. 2006. "Adult Obesity." Health Reports. Vol. 17, no. 3. August. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 9–24. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2006/9276-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).

Tremblay, Mark S., Claudio E. Pérez, Chris I. Ardern, Shirley N. Bryan and Peter T. Katzmarzyk. 2005. "Obesity, overweight and ethnicity." Health Reports. Vol. 16, no. 4. June. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 23–34. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2005/8041-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).

Wilkins, Kathryn and Margaret de Groh. 2005. "Body mass and dependency." Health Reports. Vol.17, no. 1. November. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 27–39. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2005/8708-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).

Data

Additional data from the Canadian Community Health Survey are available from CANSIM table 105–0501.