Obesity Rate in Canada Not As High As in United States

Both countries, however, have higher prevalence now than in late 1980s

WEDNESDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- More North Americans are obese today than were 20 years ago, and the prevalence of obesity in Canada is about 10 percentage points lower than it is in the United States, according to a data report issued March 2 by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.

Margot Shields, of the Health Statistics Division at Statistics Canada in Ottawa, and colleagues examined data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), 2007 to 2009; the Canadian Heart Health Surveys, 1986 to 1992; and the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 1988 to 1994 and 2007 to 2009, to compare the prevalence of adult obesity between Canada and the United States.

The researchers determined that, although the prevalence of obesity is higher in both countries than it was in the late 1980s, it is lower among adults in Canada than in the United States. In 2007 to 2009, the prevalence of obesity in Canada was 24.1 percent, and it was 34.4 percent in the United States. Notably, among young and middle-aged women, the prevalence of obesity in Canada in 2007 to 2009 was similar to the prevalence in the United States two decades earlier. The prevalence of obesity among the non-Hispanic white population is also lower in Canada than in the United States (25.6 versus 33.0 percent), but this difference is not as large as when comparing the entire populations of the countries.

"In the United States, the increases in the prevalence of obesity observed in the 1980s and 1990s did not appear to continue at the same rate during the current decade, particularly among women and possibly for men. Insufficient data points for measured height and weight preclude the possibility of conducting a similar study on the Canadian population. However, the availability of future cycles of NHANES and CHMS data will permit further exploration and comparison of obesity trends in the two countries," the authors write.

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