One in four Canadian adults is obese according to Statistics Canada, but people living in southern B.C. stand out from the bunch.
A newly released report shows the three lowest obesity estimates were all found in southern British Columbia: Kelowna (17 per cent), Vancouver (17.4 per cent) and Victoria (19.6 per cent).
Stats Canada says B.C. had a 20.4 per cent prevalence of obesity in 2011-2012, the smallest indicator in the country. It was also smaller than the national average of 24.8 per cent.
Meanwhile, Saint John, New Brunswick had the dubious honour of having the highest obesity level in Canada at 38.1 per cent.
The lowest proportions of obese people were found in Canada’s three largest cities (Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver) and in areas of southern British Columbia.
The highest levels were found in Atlantic Canada, the Prairies, and the Territories, and smaller cities in northern and southwestern Ontario.
The 2012 report found more men than women were obese, and obesity has increased more for men than women over the past eight years. It also found that Canadians aged 35 to 64 were the most likely to be obese.
The report relies on self-reported data, which is prone to bias, as people tend to under-report their weight and over-report their height, according to Stats Canada. Hence, in general self-reported data underestimate the prevalence of obesity.
But the agency says the latest obesity data have been adjusted for these biases.
Incidentally, a new report from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington published today revealed almost a third of the world’s population is now overweight.
Researchers found more than two billion people worldwide are now overweight or obese. The highest rates were in the Middle East and North Africa.
Last June, Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health launched a survey in an effort to find out why people in Metro Vancouver are healthier and have lower rates of obesity.
If you would like to participate in the My Health My Community survey, you have until the end of June to do so.