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Health

These graphs illustrate why Canadian obesity is on the rise

Canadians are putting on the pounds and getting bigger waistlines.
Canadians are putting on the pounds and getting bigger waistlines. Pixabay

You’re likely not surprised when you hear that obesity is on the rise in Canada.

In 2015, Statistics Canada released a report that found 20.2 per cent of Canadians 18 and older — which translates into 5.3 million people — had height and weight that would categorize them as obese in 2014.

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When it came to simply being considered overweight, the data showed that that in men rates were decreasing, while it they were almost holding steady for women.

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There’s a reason we’re getting bigger.

It’s our eating habits. Take a look at that burger you’re eating: it used to be much smaller. And think about when you go to a movie and the enormous size of that sugary drink you consume.

Bigger is always better marketers seem to feel, and restaurants and other outlets are always ready to pass on “savings” by making meals appear cheaper than individual items. Even though you may have gone into a burger chain for just a burger, you find yourself getting a burger and fries and a soft drink.

 

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And we also seem to eat out often. In fact, the food industry is thriving on our habits. And that might also be due to rising prices for those healthy foods we love so much.

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According to Statistics Canada, the price for a 1-kg bag of carrots rose from $1.92 in July 2012 to $2.46 in July 2016. In the same time period, a 4.54 kg bag potatoes rose from $5.85 to $6.99. And meat saw the most dramatic rise with round steak going from $14.18/kg to $18.39/kg and stewing beef going from $11.34/kg to $16.92/kg.

An Angus-Reid poll released in April found that Canadians are cutting back on the meat and switching to cheaper items in order to battle rising food costs. More than half of all Canadians — 57 per cent — said that they were finding it more difficult to feed their families in the last year.

And what about our children? Children are a market unto themselves. A 2013 study by the Food Marketing Workgroup found that companies spend roughly US$1.79 billion on marketing just food, with only $280 million for advertising healthy foods. Two-thirds of advertising on children’s websites are for food with a whopping 84 per cent marketing junk food.

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