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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 104, Issue 1, pp e64–e68 | Cite as

Updating the Canadian Obesity Maps: An Epidemic in Progress

  • Carolyn C. GotayEmail author
  • Peter T. Katzmarzyk
  • Ian Janssen
  • Marliese Y. Dawson
  • Khatereh Aminoltejari
  • Nicci L. Bartley
Quantitative Research
  • 34 Downloads

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Obesity is a growing problem in Canada and worldwide. While obesity maps that convey changing rates over time and geography provide a useful way to convey such information, regional obesity surveillance maps for Canada have not been published since 1998. This research provides a summary of changing Canadian obesity rates since that time.

METHODS: We computed estimated obesity rates for provinces and territories across Canada from 2000 to 2011. Data were based on Canadian Community Health Survey and corrected for self-report bias. Data reporting the estimated percent of the adult population who are obese were mapped over time overall and by sex according to Canadian province and territory.

RESULTS: The data indicate that the estimated prevalence of obesity across Canada has continued to increase over the past 11 years. Current rates exceed 30% in the Maritime provinces (Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) and in two territories (Northwest Territory, Nunavut). Data for men and women are generally consistent. The major increase in obesity appears to have occurred in the first part of this period, with relatively stable rates found from 2008 to 2011. However, obesity rates are still climbing, warranting continued surveillance efforts.

CONCLUSION: Maps showing changing regional obesity rates provide a compelling pan-Canadian portrait that can lead to an impetus for action for the public, health care providers, and decision makers. Such colour-coded maps offer an efficient way to convey complex data that transcends language differences and personalizes the data for the viewer.

Key words

Canada/epidemiology obesity/epidemiology geography 

Résumé

OBJECTIFS: L’obésité est un problème croissant au Canada et dans le monde. Les cartes de l’obésité qui montrent l’évolution des taux dans l’espace et le temps sont un moyen utile de transmettre ce genre d’information, mais on ne publie plus de cartes régionales de surveillance de l’obésité au Canada depuis 1998. Nous présentons un résumé de l’évolution des taux d’obésité au Canada depuis cette date.

MÉTHODE: Nous avons calculé les taux d’obésité estimatifs des provinces et des territoires du Canada entre 2000 et 2011. Nos données proviennent de l’Enquête sur la santé dans les collectivités canadiennes et sont corrigées en fonction du biais de déclaration. Les données rendant compte du pourcentage estimatif de la population adulte obèse ont été cartographiées dans le temps globalement, et par sexe selon la province ou le territoire du Canada.

RÉSULTATS: La prévalence estimative de l’obésité au Canada a continué d’augmenter au cours des 11 dernières années. Les taux actuels dépassent 30 % dans les provinces maritimes (Terre-Neuve, Nouveau-Brunswick, Nouvelle-Écosse, Île-du-Prince-Édouard) et dans deux territoires (Territoires du Nord-Ouest, Nunavut). Les données pour les hommes et les femmes sont semblables en général. La principale hausse de l’obésité semble s’être produite durant la première partie de la période, les taux s’étant relativement stabilisés entre 2008 et 2011. Cependant, ces taux augmentent encore, ce qui justifie la poursuite des efforts de surveillance.

CONCLUSION: Les cartes montrant l’évolution régionale des taux d’obésité présentent un portrait pancanadien éloquent qui pourrait pousser le public, le personnel soignant et les décideurs à réagir. Ces cartes à code de couleur sont un moyen efficace de transmettre des données complexes; elles transcendent les frontières linguistiques et personnalisent les données pour l’observateur.

Mots clés

Canada/épidémiologie obésité/épidémiologie géographie 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn C. Gotay
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter T. Katzmarzyk
    • 2
  • Ian Janssen
    • 3
  • Marliese Y. Dawson
    • 1
  • Khatereh Aminoltejari
    • 1
  • Nicci L. Bartley
    • 1
  1. 1.Cancer Prevention Centre, Faculty of Medicine, School of Population and Public HealthUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Pennington Biomedical Research CenterLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeCanada
  3. 3.Community Health & Epidemiology, Kinesiology & Health StudiesQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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