This is Why Canada Needs COACH Now!

Yesterday, as widely reported in national media, Statistics Canada and the US National Center for Health Statistics released a study that directly compares the prevalence of obesity among adults in Canada to the number in the US.

The good news is that the prevalence of obesity among adults in Canada is lower than it is in the US (24.1% of adults in Canada vs. 34.4% in the US).

The bad news is that during the past two decades, in both Canada and the US, the rates of adult obesity have been increasing at roughly the same rates (about 10% points overall) with small, but perhaps interesting, variations across age groups – in men the greatest increase was among those aged 60 to 74; among women, the increase was highest among those aged 20 to 39.

The latter figure is particularly alarming because, with all of the accumulating data on epigenetic programming, where maternal obesity is literally transferred to her offspring via actual modification of their genetic code, we are in for an ever burgeoning epidemic of childhood obesity – one that is unlikely to be stopped by taxing pop or reintroducing 20 mins of daily phys-ed into school curricula.

As blogged before, we should now be seriously talking about actually providing obesity treatments to those already struggling with excess weight – perhaps starting with providing treatments for young moms and dads and those with severe obesity, who need it most.

Once obesity is established, simply preventing further weight gain can be seen as success. Without treatment, the currently over 6,000,000 obese Canadians will simply continue gaining weight, with all of its economic and health consequences.

Note that the solution for many may not be weight loss -after all, if simply losing weight were the solution, then this problem would not exist – I have yet to meet an overweight or obese person, who has never lost weight.

What Canadians need is access to weight management in the same manner as they would seek and receive management for their diabetes, their hypertension, their asthma, their depression, or any other chronic condition that affects their health.

Currently such weight management resources in our healthcare systems are beginning to emerge but remain rare and hard to find amongst the deafening cacophony of the commercial weight-loss industry.

This is exactly where the Canadian Obesity Awareness and Control initiative for Health (COACH) comes in – providing Canadians struggling with excess weight with reliable and un-biased information on obesity management and pointing them to credible weight management resources in their healthcare systems and communities.

The time for COACH is now – not once we have caught up with our friends south of the border. If anything, this report should remind us that without immediate action, Canada may well soon be where the US is today.

If you have not already done so – please show your support for COACH and help spread the message by clicking here.

Edmonton, Alberta