A Look at Obesity in Alberta: Fact Sheet

A recent Fact Sheet from Alberta Health Services’ Diabetes, Obesity and Nutrition Strategic Clinical Network provides an overview of obesity in Alberta. (See link below for the Fact Sheet pdf).

Based on a Health Quality Council of Alberta 2012 survey Some quick facts are:

  • In 2012 7 out of 10 Albertans were at least overweight (link to PHAC healthy weights).
  • More males than females are obese
  • Class 1 obesity (BMI 30 – 34.9) is more common in men than in women
  • Obesity is more common in the Northern Health Zone and lowest in Calgary and Edmonton Health Zones

Obesity is linked to chronic illness such as high blood pressure, (hypertension), type 2 diabetes, stroke and coronary heart disease.

How to tell if you are obese?

The body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) measurement are tools used by health professionals to help assess your risk of developing health problems associated with being overweight and underweight. These tools are used with adults age 18 years and over, with the exception of pregnant and breastfeeding women.

BMI is a ratio of weight-to-height. It is not a direct measure of body fat but it is an indicator only. The WC measurement is an indicator of health risk associated with abdominal obesity. Excess fat around the waist and upper body (also described as an “apple” body shape) is associated with greater health risk than fat located more in the hip and thigh areas (described as a “pear” body shape).

As mentioned, BMI and WC are indicators only. Overweight and obesity is much more than just a body type or dress/pant size. To calculate your level of risk, it is best to see your doctor.

Qualified exercise instructors who are certified to conduct fitness assessments within their scope of practice such as a CSEP CPT/CEP, or AFLCA Certified Fitness Trainer also use BMI and WC in fitness assessments..

Your age, family history and the presence of other health conditions, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or high blood sugar levels can all interact with being overweight or obese. Poor eating habits, physical inactivity, mental health and tobacco use also contribute to the development of these conditions, and can further exacerbate negative health effects of obesity or being overweight.

Here are some resources for information on obesity and overweight.

It’s Your Health – Obesity, Public Health Agency of Canada website

Canadian Obesity Network Resources page

PHAC Tips to get active