Background

In 2007, Statistics Canada found that 29% of adolescents had unhealthy weights. More concerning is that most adolescents do not outgrow this problem; research has demonstrated that many overweight adolescents will carry this health concern into adulthood, further emphasizing the need to address this problem in childhood. Adolescent obesity has also been shown to increase mortality rates in adulthood. The difficult nature of reversing obesity makes prevention in childhood years essential.

Overweight and obesity are medical conditions characterized by excess body fat, which can have a negative impact on health, increasing the risk of health concerns such as Type 2 diabetes, stroke, sleep problems, heart disease, certain types of cancer, osteoarthritis, as well as negative emotional and psychological impacts.

Obesity and overweight are caused by a combination of increased food intake, inadequate physical activity and genetic factors and affect over 26% of children and youth (1.6 million children) in Canada. The Canadian population is in the midst of an epidemic of these health conditions and their prevention is being recognized as a serious public health concern.