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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 174–178 | Cite as

Measured Weights in PEI Adults Reveal Higher Than Expected Obesity Rates

  • Debbie L. MacLellan
  • Jennifer P. Taylor
  • Linda Van Til
  • Lamont Sweet
Article

Abstract

Background

The increasing prevalence of obesity and overweight in Canada is a significant health concern. Unfortunately, we know very little about the actual weight status and associated health risks in our population since most surveys use only selfreported body weights and heights and typically do not include a measure of body fat distribution. This paper summarizes the findings of the Prince Edward Island Nutrition Survey.

Methods

A random sample of 1,995 adults aged 18–74 were interviewed in their homes and weights, heights and waist circumference measurements were obtained. Relative health risks, population proportions and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals were calculated.

Results

Overall, almost one third of PEI adults are obese (BMI ≥≥30). This is almost double that reported in the 1995 National Population Health Survey using self-reported heights and weights. More women were classified as being very severely obese (Class III) than men, but for both men and women there appears to be a trend of increased mild obesity with age. Based on BMI and waist circumference, over one third of the population is considered to be at high to extremely high risk for health problems.

Conclusion

Self-reported height and weight data appear to result in significant underestimation of the problem of obesity. Given the serious health consequences associated with this condition, it is critical that measured heights and weights be collected in future population-based surveys to ensure that public health interventions are based on accurate prevalence data.

Résumé

Contexte

Le taux croissant d’obésité et d’embonpoint constaté au Canada est préoccupant. Malheureusement, nous en savons très peu sur la véritable catégorie de poids des Canadiens et Canadiennes et les risques connexes pour leur santé. En effet, pour la plupart des enquêtes, on n’a recours qu’à des données autodéclarées sur le poids et la taille qui n’incluent généralement pas de mesure de la distribution de la masse adipeuse. Le présent document résume les conclusions de l’enquête sur la nutrition à l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard. Méthode: Nous avons interviewé un échantillon aléatoire de 1 995 adultes âgés de 18 à 74 ans, à leur domicile, et mesuré leur poids, leur taille et leur tour de taille. Nous avons calculé les risques relatifs, les proportions de la population et les intervalles de confiance de 95 % correspondants.

Résultats

Globalement, près du tiers des adultes de l’Île sont obèses (IMC ≥≥30). C’est presque le double des résultats obtenus lors de l’Enquête nationale sur la santé de la population (1995), dont les données sur le poids et la taille étaient autodéclarées. Plus de femmes que d’hommes étaient considérées comme très gravement obèses, bien que, chez les deux sexes, il semble y avoir une tendance à une légère obésité avec l’âge. Lorsqu’on tient compte des mesures de l’IMC et du tour de taille, plus du tiers de la population est jugé à risque élevé ou extrêmement élevé de commencer à avoir des problèmes de santé.

Conclusions

Notre analyse suggère que l’utilisation de données autodéclarées sur la taille et le poids entraîne une importante sous-estimation du problème de l’obésité. Étant donné les graves conséquences sur la santé associées à l’obésité, il sera essentiel, dans le cadre des prochaines enquêtes auprès de la population, de mesurer la taille et le poids afin de nous assurer que les interventions en santé publique sont fondées sur des données exactes.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Debbie L. MacLellan
    • 1
  • Jennifer P. Taylor
    • 1
  • Linda Van Til
    • 2
  • Lamont Sweet
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Family and Nutritional SciencesUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCharlottetownCanada
  2. 2.Department of Health and Social ServicesGovernment of PEICharlottetownCanada

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