Canadians getting heavier, wider and weaker

According to a new study by Statistics Canada, Canadians in every age group are getting increasingly heavy, large and out of shape. Surprised?

According to a new study by Statistics Canada, Canadians in every age group are getting increasingly heavy, large and out of shape. Surprised?

This was the first comprehensive study to directly measure weight and fitness among Canadians, with the research involving more than 2,000 children and teens as well as over 3,000 adults. Large-scale studies are usually based on data reported by participants, and in such cases the figures tend to be lower than those measured directly by researchers.

The findings show that between 1981 and 2009, the average weight of a 45-year-old man increased by 9 kg (20 pounds), while his waist size grew by almost 7.5 cm (3 inches). The average 45-year-old woman, for her part, was carrying an extra 5.5 kg (12 pounds) in 2009, and her waist was 7.5 cm (3 inches) larger than the average woman in 1981. In addition, the average 36-year-old Canadian is now considered overweight, meaning that at least a quarter of his or her body weight is made up of fat. Overall, three out of five Canadian adults are overweight or obese.

Sadly, children and teenagers are faring no better. The average 12-year-old boy now weighs 6.3 kg (14 pounds) more than in 1981. He is also 5 cm (2 inches) taller, however. And today’s teenage girl, for her part, weighs 5 kg (11 pounds) more, while being 2.5 cm (1 inch) taller. As a result, more than a quarter of all Canadian children are overweight or obese.

In both children and adults, the researchers noted a marked performance decline in tests used to gauge aerobic and muscular fitness. The weakening was most pronounced in teenagers, to the point that one in seven teens couldn’t even perform some of the exercises because they were so unfit.

It is urgent for Canadians young and old to improve their physical fitness. Otherwise, children and teenagers might be signing away their future due to the complications associated with obesity and poor physical condition. The main solutions are no secret: eating a healthy diet and spending more time on physical activity, on a daily basis. Scram, then – everybody outside! Let’s go play or walk for a few minutes!

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