Hamiltonians are reporting significantly higher levels of obesity and high blood pressure than the Canadian average, according to a new study from Statistics Canada.
In its latest Community Health Survey the statistics agency reports that 23 per cent of people in Hamilton surveyed identified they had high blood pressure. The national average was 17.6 per cent. Statistics Canada identifies that difference as significant.
Hamilton was also significantly above the average in number of adults surveyed reporting in as overweight or obese. The national average was 52.1 per cent. The provincial average was slightly higher at 52.3 per cent. Hamilton weighed in at 60.9 per cent.
On it's website Statistics Canada states that "obesity has been linked with many chronic diseases, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer."
In 2011, 18.3 per cent of Canadians aged 18 and older, roughly 4.6 million adults, reported height and weight that classified them as obese.
The survey collected responses on a number of other health issues including smoking, drinking alcohol and consumption of fruits and vegetables. Hamilton was not significantly different than national averages in those categories according to Statistics Canada.
Across Canada fewer people are smoking now than 10 years ago. The survey says almost one in five Canadians aged 12 and older smoked on an occasional or a daily basis. That's down from almost 26 per cent 10 years ago.
Since 2001, the largest declines for both sexes occurred among teenagers. For those aged 15 to 17 the rates fell from 20.8 per cent to 9.4 per cent. For those aged 18 to 19, rates dropped from 33.7 per cent to 19.1 per cent. Researchers also found that teens from ages 15 to 17 were three times more likely to smoke if they lived in homes where someone smoked.
While a drop in the number of people smoking might not be a surprise. More surprising, perhaps, is that researchers said fruit and vegetable consumption has declined for two consecutive years across the country.
Females were much more likely than males to consume fruit and vegetables. In 2011, 47.2 per cent of females consumed fruit and vegetables five or more times daily, compared with 33.5 per cent of males.