Overweight and obese adults (self-reported), 2012

Obesity has been linked with m any chronic diseases, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer.Note 1

To assess the health risks of obesity, the World Health Organization and Health Canada use guidelines based on Body Mass IndexNote 2 (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 aged 18 and older, excluding pregnant women.

Table 1
Weight ranges for underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese for selected heights

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

In 2012, 18.4% of Canadians aged 18 and older, roughly 4.7 million adults, reported height and weight that classified them as obese.  The rate of obesity among men rose from 16.0% in 2003 to 19.0% in 2009, and has remained stable from 2009 to 2012.  Among women, the rate rose from 14.5% in 2003 to 16.7% in 2009, and then remained stable from 2009 to 2011.  In 2012, the rate of obesity for women increased to 18.0% (Chart 1).

In 2012, 41.3% of men and 26.9% of women reported height and weight that classified them as overweight. These rates have been stable since 2003 (Chart 1).

When those who were classified as obese were combined with those who were overweight, 59.9% (7.7 million) of men and 45.0% (5.8 million) of women  had an increased health risk because of excess weight.  The combined rates of overweight and obese women and men have remained stable since 2010.

Chart 1

Description for Chart 1

In the 35 to 44 age group, significantly more men than women were obese. All other age groups were about the same for men and women.  Among both sexes, those aged 18 to 19 had the lowest obesity rate (Chart 2).

Chart 2

Description for Chart 2

In 2012, the percentage of Canadians who were overweight or obese increased between the ages of 18 and 54, while the percentage of Canadians underweight decreased between the ages of 18 and 44 (Chart 3).  People whose height and weight classifies them as underweight are also considered to have increased health risks.

Chart 3

Description for Chart 3

The proportion of residents who were obese was lower than the national average (18.4%) in:

  • Quebec (17.2%)
  • British Columbia (14.1%)

The proportion of residents who were obese was higher than the national average in:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador (26.3%)
  • Prince Edward Island (26.1%)
  • Nova Scotia (25.1%)
  • New Brunswick (28.0%)
  • Saskatchewan (25.4%)
  • Northwest Territories (26.4%)

Residents of the other provinces and territories reported rates that were about the same as the national average.


End notes

  1. Tjepkema, Michael. 2006. “Adult Obesity.” Health Reports. Vol. 17, no. 3. August. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 9. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2006/9276-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).
  2. Measures of BMI can be used to understand how the weight of a population changes over time and how weight is related to health risks. However, while BMI is useful to monitor the health of a population, if does not necessarily reflect health risks for a person.  Individuals should be cautious if using BMI to classify themselves since this measure is not as precise for predicting health risks for people who are naturally very lean or muscular, or people from certain minority ethnic groups.

The results shown here are based on height and weight as reported by Canadians. Comparisons of self-reported height and weight with actual measurements have shown that women are more likely to underestimate their weight, while men tend to overestimate their height. Moreover, under-reporting of weight increases proportionately with actual weight.  In other words, the more overweight a person is, the more likely they are to under-report their weight (see “Estimates of obesity based on self-report versus direct measures” in Health Reports).

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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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.