Not only is America the richest country on earth, it's also the fattest. And here in Canada, we're really no better off. Over the past fifteen years, we've been eating so much and exercising so little that seventy-five per cent of people in this country are now considered overweight or obese. In fact, for the first time in North America, researchers say obesity is now a bigger overall threat to people's health than smoking.
Last week, a new study came out from Columbia University and the City College of New York. And the findings are pretty scary. It says obesity now causes as much... if not more disease than tobacco. And how's this for a stat? In the US, over the past fifteen years, smoking in adults is down eighteen and a half per cent. But the proportion of obese people is up eighty-five per cent!
And that's not all. Over the next decade, doctors say the number of Canadians with diabetes is expected to skyrocket, from two and a half million to three point seven million. And then, there are children. Doctors say if things don't change, this generation of kids will end up with shorter life spans than their parents. So, is it as simple as eating healthy and exercising more? Or is it time for governments to crack down on the junk food industry and go after it like the tobacco industry?
Dr. David McKeown, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, will tell us. Appointed in 2004, he served as Medical Officer of Health for the Borough of East York, the City of Toronto (pre-amalgamation), and Peel Region. He's a physician specialist in Community Medicine, and was trained in medical and public health training at McGill University and the University of Toronto. He also holds a Masters degree in Community Health and Epidemiology, and he'll take the red chair to chat about food and public health.