Obesity rates decline in Canada

A new study from the University of Manitoba says obesity rates have declined in Canada.

As reported in a recent story from Global News, the number of Canadian kids who were overweight or obese increased from 23.3 to 34.7 percent between 1978 and 2004.

However, between 2004 and 2013, the rate decreased to 27 percent.

Have we finally turned the corner with the child obesity epidemic?

While these findings are encouraging, Dr. Atul Sharma of the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba is cautious. He suggests that there is still work to be done in the battle against obesity.

According to Sharma, one event, in particular, may have helped to reduce the child obesity rate. In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced children’s body mass index (BMI) growth charts for use by health-care professionals. He suggests these charts may have helped family doctors and paediatricians to educate parents about their children’s weight, BMI, and waist circumference and thereby stemmed the tide of the obesity epidemic.

If true, it provides another example of the importance of education in public health, as well as the importance of measurement. Both are considered key elements in the promotion of physical literacy as well.

How to calculate BMI

It’s easy to calculate your BMI. Simply take your weight and divide that number by the square of your height measurement.

For example, the BMI of someone who stands 1.6 metres tall and weighs 65 kilograms is calculated as follows:

65 / (1.6 x 1.6) = 23.4

To see whether or not your BMI falls into the “normal” range, compare the number with a standard BMI table.

Easier yet, simply use an online BMI calculator and see if your BMI falls within the healthy range.

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