NEWMARKET – The tide may be changing when it comes to obesity in Canada. A new report indicates that obesity rates are still increasing, but the pace at which Canadians are gaining weight has slowed down. The National Population Health Survey (2006) found that although the weight of adults continues to rise, it is at a lesser degree than in previous years.
The report fits with the results of another recent survey of Canadians’ self-reported knowledge, attitudes and behaviours regarding food and nutrition. The Tracking Nutrition Trends VI Survey (2006), commissioned by the Canadian Council of Food and Nutrition, indicates that Canadians are making attempts to improve their eating habits and are generally “in-the-know” when it comes to nutrition.
Below are some interesting findings from both surveys:
• From 2002/2003 to 2004/2005, there was a decrease in the proportion of men gaining weight and there was a greater amount of weight lost in women who lost weight
• Younger adults are gaining more weight than older adults
• Adults in the “normal” weight range gained more weight than those who are classified as overweight or obese
• Over 80 per cent of Canadians perceive their eating habits and health as being “good” to “excellent”
• Three in five Canadians believe they are “somewhat knowledgeable” and one in four state they are “very knowledgeable” about nutrition
• Although taste is the most important factor influencing the food choices made by Canadians, nutrition follows closely behind - particularly among women
• 62 per cent of Canadians made some attempt to change their eating habits for the better in the past year
The results from these surveys may be an indication that improved eating habits may be contributing to the changing obesity trends. However, it is still important to note that almost 60 per cent of the adult population is overweight or obese, and that related diseases such as type 2 diabetes are on the rise.
Registered dietitians from York Region Health Services encourage residents to compare their personal eating habits to Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating to determine how well they are eating. Dietitians also offer the following additional tips to help improve your eating habits:
• Eat more vegetables, fruit, and legumes and limit foods that are high in fat, salt and/or sugar
• Choose more whole grain products, low fat milk products and lean meats
• Read food labels to choose foods that are higher in fibre and lower in saturated and trans fat
• Practice portion control during meal and snack time
For more information on this or other health-related topics, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.york.ca
- 30 -