Alberta has more overweight or obese people than national average, report indicates

Albertans are leading the country when it comes to being obese or overweight, according to a new report. The greatest incidence of obesity was in men, people between ages 45 and 64 and residents in the northern part of the province.

Men, individuals aged 45-64 and residents of northern part of the province most affected

A new report indicates six in 10 Albertans are overweight or obese, higher than the national average. (Shutterstock)

Nearly six out of 10 people in Alberta are overweight or obese, according a new report from the Health Quality Council of Alberta.

The findings are almost four per cent higher than the national average, which indicates five in 10 Canadians — or 54 per cent — are overweight or obese.   

The greatest incidence of obesity in the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) study was in men, people between ages 45 and 64, and residents in the northern part of the province.  

"The rise in obesity is a worldwide public health issue, and is associated with an increased risk of chronic disease and more frequent use of health-care services, and so the HQCA decided to explore this issue further," said HQCA board chair Dr. Tony Fields in a release.

The information in the report was gathered through a 2014 survey that asked Albertans how they used health-care services and their overall satisfaction with the system.

Through that survey of 4,424 adults, weight and height numbers were collected to determine body mass index (BMI), with overweight 25 to 29.9, and obesity above 30.

Those figures found about 35 per cent were overweight and some 24 per cent were obese. As well:  

  • Four in 10 Albertans reported being overweight in 2014, while two in 10 reported being obese.
  • Obesity is more common in the Alberta Health Services north and south zones, while rates are lowest in Calgary and Edmonton.
  • Being overweight is more common among males than females at 42.4 per cent compared to 27.5 per cent. 
  • There have been no significant changes in the prevalence of overweight or obesity among people in Alberta since 2012.

"With this report, we aimed to understand the impact of overweight and obesity on quality of life and our health-care system, and to provide rationale for the role of primary health care in weight management," said Andrew Neuner, chief executive officer for the HQCA, in a release.

There is a long list of chronic conditions that have been linked to being overweight or obese, including diabetes, heart disease, asthma, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety.

The HQCA said the report will also help health-care providers determine the best way to help overweight or obese individuals with weight management. 

The Health Quality Council of Alberta hopes information released Wednesday about the province's obesity rates will lead to better health care in the future. (Health Quality Council of Alberta)


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