Canadian National Dialogue on Childhood Obesity Epidemic

Canadian National Dialogue on Childhood Obesity Epidemic

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The obesity epidemic is tragically affecting our Canadian children.

We are talking about children as young as age 2, during their childhood years, suffering from the same diseases as obese adults, including Type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

At one end of the age spectrum, older people are living longer and yet, ironically, at the other end younger children have to battle with obesity and suffer a range of ill health conditions and chronic diseases previously seen almost exclusively among adults.

Therefore, this Canadian childhood obesity epidemic raises the following general question: will very young children even live long enough to be old?

Here are the sobering statistics of Canadian childhood obesity:

  • Childhood overweight and obesity has been rising steadily in Canada in recent decades.
  • More than one-in-four children and youth in Canada are overweight or obese.
  • Between 1978/79 and 2004, the combined prevalence of overweight and obesity among those aged two to 17 increased from 15 per cent to 26 per cent.
  • Increases were highest among youth, aged 12 to 17 years, with overweight and obesity more than doubling for this age group, from 14 per cent to 29 per cent.
  • Young people of Aboriginal origin (off-reserve) had a significantly high combined overweight/obesity rate of 41 per cent.

Public Health
Agency of Canada

News Release

March 7, 2011

For Immediate Release

Health Ministers across Canada launch a National dialogue on childhood obesity

Fact Sheet: Our Health Our Future: A National Dialogue on Healthy Weights

(TORONTO) – In response to the growing rate of overweight and obese children in Canada, Canada’s Ministers of Health today launched Our Health Our Future: A National Dialogue on Healthy Weights — a key step in identifying actions to curb childhood obesity and to promote healthy weights.

“Unhealthy weight is a significant public health concern that requires attention from many sectors of society,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. “The Harper Government is helping to kick-start this national dialogue to help identify ways we can work together to promote and maintain healthy weights for children and youth. Everyone has a role to play in helping children and youth live a healthy life.”

“Complex and multiple factors contribute to childhood obesity,” said the Honourable Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health and Wellness, Nova Scotia, and this year’s co-chair of the federal, provincial and territorial Health Ministers meeting. “Hearing from Canadians from different sectors of society will help us address the issues more effectively and build solutions together. Each voice, positive example and commitment can lead to healthier lifestyles.”

Through this initiative, governments across Canada are engaging Canada’s youth, parents and caregivers, and multiple sectors of society in a national conversation. Our Health Our Future includes a website, opportunities for online and in-person dialogue, and a national summit. The outcomes will contribute to a report and recommendations on collective actions for healthy weights for the meeting of federal, provincial and territorial Health Ministers in November 2011. As the first national dialogue of its kind, a broad and diverse group will come together to take collective action on this important health issue.

Our Health Our Future will encourage discussions to address the factors that lead to obesity, and aim to identify solutions to this issue. Areas of discussion will include making our social and physical environments more supportive of physical activity and healthy eating, identifying and addressing obesity risks in children early, increasing access to nutritious foods and decreasing the marketing of foods and beverages high in fat, sugar and/or sodium to children.

The initiative also encourages individuals and organizations to commit to taking their own action to promote healthy weights. All Canadians, and especially youth, are encouraged to visit This link will take you to another Web site (external site) www.ourhealthourfuture.gc.ca to share their ideas on how we can work together to make the changes that will support healthy weights.

Our Health Our Future: A National Dialogue on Healthy Weights is a key step in implementing Curbing Childhood Obesity: A Federal, Provincial and Territorial Framework for Action on Healthy Weights, which was adopted by Ministers of Health and/or Health Promotion/Healthy Living in September 2010 and endorsed by Ministers responsible for Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation in February 2011. Through the Framework, Ministers agreed to make childhood obesity a collective priority, to champion this issue, and to coordinate joint and/or complementary actions within many areas of Canadian society to help create the conditions for healthy weights so that children have the healthiest possible start in life. The Framework is the first action resulting from the Declaration on Prevention and Promotion, also endorsed by Ministers, which recognizes that promoting health and preventing chronic disease, disability and injury is a shared responsibility and helps all Canadians live longer, healthier lives.

For more information

Our Health Our Future: A National Dialogue on Healthy Weights website:
This link will take you to another Web site (external site) www.ourhealthourfuture.gc.ca
Curbing Childhood Obesity: A FPT Framework for Action to Promote Healthy Weights:
This link will take you to another Web site (external site) www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

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