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Obesity: a growing global health problem


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), overweight and obesity are characterized by an abnormal or excessive accumulation of body fat that can damage health. The sedentary lifestyles of North Americans mean that obesity is a growing and worrying problem.


Depression, diet, genetics, hormonal disorders and other psychological or physiological disorders can all contribute to obesity.


Obesity statistics


Again, according to the World Health Organization, let’s talk statistics:

  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults (aged 18 and over) were overweight. Of this total, more than 650 million were obese.
  • The number of cases of obesity has almost tripled since 1975.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
  • The majority of the world’s population lives in countries where overweight and obesity claim more lives than excessive thinness.
  • In 2016, 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese.
  • In 2016, more than 340 million children and adolescents aged 5 to 19 were overweight or obese.

Closer to home, Statistics Canada reports that in 2018, 36.3% of Canadians aged 18 or over were overweight, and 26.8% (25% of Quebecers) were obese. That’s more than 63% of the Canadian population at risk of health problems associated with overweight and obesity.


Health risks associated with obesity


Obesity is assessed using the Body Mass Index (BMI), from which the WHO has defined thresholds for overweight (BMI between 25 and 30 kg/m2), obesity (BMI between 30 and 40, and massive obesity when BMI exceeds 40. There is a formula for calculating BMI that can be found on the Internet.

Obesity carries a number of health risks that are important to consider, such as respiratory problems (sleep apnea, asthma), certain types of cancer (prostate and intestinal cancer in men, breast and uterine cancer in women), certain cardiovascular diseases, reproductive problems, depression, diabetes, gallbladder or liver disorders, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, hypertension, high cholesterol and musculoskeletal problems.


Take part in our ongoing study


A study related to obesity is currently being recruited at our Lebourgneuf clinic. You may be eligible to participate if your BMI reflects obesity.

To find out more about the studies currently being recruited, please contact the Alpha Clinical Research team at 418-704-1112 (Lebourgneuf) or 418-847-1112 (Val-BĂ©lair).

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