Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Canada's Obesity Epidemic Showcased on New CBC Series

Certainly, you've seen the statistics - obesity is on the rise all over the world. Even though Americans get most of the flak, it's not just happening in the U.S.; Canadians are heavier than ever - more than a quarter of all Canadians are Obese, with even greater numbers at an unhealthy weight. The consequences of overweight and obesity are many, but Statistics Canada sums it up nicely: Obesity (defined as a Body Mass Index or BMI of >30 kg/m^2) is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, some cancers and gallbladder disease. As well, psychosocial problems, functional limitations and disabilities are associated with excess weight. That is all some pretty scary stuff. So in order to shed some light on the obesity epidemic and highlight what we can all do to help keep our weight in check, the CBC is airing a new mini-series showcasing the struggles and successes of the people of one Northern B.C village with a disproportionately high obesity rate.

B.C. is actually the healthiest province in Canada, with the lowest overall obesity rates. But things are a little different in the North. Roughly 60% of the population of the Northern town of Taylor, B.C. is overweight or obese which is the perfect backdrop for a weight loss TV series called Village on a Diet. In the 10 episodes that span over a 3-month time period, the town of Taylor intends to collectively lose 1 ton of weight among the population.

The town of 1,400 people is mining- and forestry-driven, where dietary staples include meat and potatoes Exercise is sparse in the harsh cold winter months. A team of professionals including a doctor, personal trainers, a registered dietitian, psychologist and chef will join forces to help get this town healthy. I'm sure they can do it, but it will be so interesting to see just how well they can do!