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Canadians have become More Overweight and Less Fit!

>> Sunday, March 21, 2010

It comes as no surprise that Canadians have become more obese and less sendentary over the last 25 years. However, statistics from the Canadian Health Measures Survey have now put some numbers on the scope of the problem, and the results aren't pretty.

In the 1970's and 80's in Canada, there was a period of time where fitness was taken more seriously, at least in part due to the governmental ParticipACTION campaign. In 1981, the Canadian Fitness Survey reported that 56% of Canadian adults were active in their leisure time.
In 2008, that number has dropped to only 33%. Even worse - only 13% of Canadian children meet guidlines for recommended amounts of physical activity. Muscular strength and flexibility have fallen in Canadian adults, and the proportion of young adults with a waistline that puts them at risk of cardiovascular and metabolic health problems has more than quadrupled.

The need for more action from the government is clear. Comparisons to Canadian anti-smoking campaigns are often made; while the stop smoking campaigns have been comprehensive and strong, the committment by our government to promote active living has waxed and waned over the past decades. ParticipACTION lots its federal funding in the early 2000s, but was resurrected in 2007.

An easy way that we can all engage in active living is simply to incorporate activity into our daily ttransport routines. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator to get to your office or apartment is an easy one (if this is difficult at the start, try taking just one flight of stairs, and hop on the elevator for the remainder; you can build it up over time!). Park your car blocks away from your office and walk the rest (you may even save on parking this way!).

I learned a lot from the year I spent working at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark last year, with regards to active transportation. In Copenhagen, there are more bikes than there are cars, and rush hour bike traffic is a way of life. I rode my bike to work every day, which was only 5km away - but by the end of the year, this amounted to 2,000 km of cycling! Clearly, the Canadian climate is not always conducive to cycling to work, but even doing this for 8 months of the year would be an important contribution to an active lifestyle. Interestingly, even back in 1973 when Canadian dedication to an active lifestyle was stronger, the fitness of our 30 year olds was comparable to the fitness of a 60 year old Swede, which is at least partly attributable to this active transport lifestyle.

Dr. Sue © 2010


I am excited that you have arrived at my site, and I hope you are too - consider this the first step towards a Healthier New You!! As a medical doctor, Endocrinologist, and obesity specialist, I am absolutely passionate about helping people with weight management. Though there is certainly no magic cure for obesity, there IS a successful treatment plan out there for you - it is all about understanding the elements that contribute to your personal weight struggle, and then finding the treatment plan that suits your needs and your lifestyle. The way to finding your personal solution is to learn as much as you can about obesity: how our toxic environment has shaped us into an overweight society; the diversity of contributors to obesity; and what the treatment options out there are really all about. Knowledge Is Power!!

Are you ready to change your life? Let's begin our journey together, towards a healthier, happier you!!

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