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Overweight And Obesity In Alberta; A Role For Primary Care

HQCA_Obesity_Info_graphic712x1160Yesterday, the Health Quality Council of Alberta, released a report called Overweight and obesity in adult Albertans: a role for primary healthcare, which provides an in-depth analysis of the prevalence, burden, and rates of use of a number of key healthcare services for overweight and obese individuals in Alberta. The report also provides a strong rationale for the role of primary healthcare in weight management for adult Albertans living with overweight and obesity.

In 2014, the HQCA conducted a survey of adult Albertans about their use and satisfaction with healthcare services. As part of this survey, self-reported height and weight were collected from individuals in order to calculate their body mass index. According to these findings, nearly six out of 10 Albertans over the age of 18 were either overweight or obese. The estimated provincial prevalence of adults with overweight and obesity was 35.2 per cent and 23.9 per cent, respectively. In addition, obesity was associated with an increased risk of multiple comorbidities, greater use of healthcare system services, and a lower self-rated individual quality of life.

Managing overweight and obese populations, as well as comorbid conditions, falls predominantly on primary healthcare providers. Evidence shows that diverse strategies for the management of overweight and obesity within primary healthcare are associated with benefits in weight management; however, the most effective mix of providers, interventions, and duration requires further evaluation. Moving forward, Alberta may benefit from working towards a more unified strategy for weight management that includes opportunities to engage Albertans in discussions about weight management, and to increase the use of team-based care across all weight categories.

The full report is available here.

A fact sheet is available here.

Edmonton, Alberta

1 Comment

  1. Hi there

    I too agree we need Primary Care Physicians to play a role in helping Albertans with weight management. My own physician has become very understanding and helpful with regards to my weight problems and has made it so much easier for me to ask her for help. It’s hard for me to discuss my overweight, as it’s embarrassing to me, but she doesn’t put me down for it and encourages me in positive ways, even if I haven’t made progress.

    I think we need to take this a step further and have tax breaks for those who partake in regular exercise. For example: swimming is one of the best exercises for overweight patients. Cycling is another. Perhaps a tax break on swim tickets/bicycles/exercise equipment, would help those with all sorts of health issues to get fitter. I know there are breaks for parents who buy fitness programs for their children, but we need the adults to provide the example of fitness; Then children will naturally follow their lead.

    I know this isn’t the total answer, as exercise is just a small piece of weight management. However, regular exercise will provide a multitude of health benefits. For example: Exercise improves the mood so there is a decrease in depression, anxiety, hopelessness, which all can be factors in a persons overeating. Also, regular exercise will help with health concerns such as constipation, circulation, edema, and metabolism. And exercise makes you feel better about yourself, so you may eat less.

    So, politicians. How about it. How about a tax break for overweight adult Albertans who choose exercise? Its a win win. More exercise = better health. Better health = less use of Health Care! Less need of Health care = tax savings.

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