Canadians fatter, but smoking less
06-14-2006 12:55 AM
Canadians fatter, but smoking less
Canadians fatter, but smoking less: StatsCan
Chris and Maria Crevier smoke in their basement furnace room of their home in Montreal. They have not been smoking in their home for six years because of concerns for their children. (CP / Ian Barrett)
Canadians might be smoking less than they used to, but many of them are a whole lot fatter than they admit, a new national health survey says.
In its annual Canadian Community Health Survey released Tuesday, Statistics Canada revealed that the average Canadian underestimated their weight by nearly nine per cent.
Men were found on average to overestimate their height, while women were more likely to underestimate their weight, the study found.
Obesity rates have remained relatively stable at 15.5 per cent, up only 0.6 per cent over 2003.
Meanwhile, although fewer young people are lighting up, many non-smokers are still being exposed to second-hand smoke.
Although some provinces have introduced public smoking bans, 15 per cent of non-smokers aged 12 and up said they were still regularly exposed to second-hand smoke in public places.
"This was down from 20 per cent in 2003, but it still represented one out of every seven non-smoking Canadians, or about 3.1 million people," said StatsCan.
Ontario and Quebec outlawed smoking in public places on May 31, 2006.
On the positive side, the Canadian Community Health Survey found that 22 per cent of the population smoked in 2005, down slightly from 23 per cent from 2003 -- the last time a survey was conducted.
The biggest decline was among people aged 12 to 17. The rate of smoking in this age range dropped to 8 per cent in 2005, compared to 10 per cent in 2003.
"The youth smoking rate has declined because increasing numbers of young people never start to smoke," StatsCan said in its brief.
CTV's chief medical contributor Dr. Marla Shapiro said this finding is significant.
"Generally if you have not started smoking by 18, it is unusual that adults pick up the habit," Shapiro told CTV Newsnet.
"So since we know that smoking has a long latency period in terms of diseases like emphysema, chronic obstructive lung, heard disease, it bodes well for the future that we are seeing less teens than ever smoking and taking up the habit."
Provincially, smoking rates in 2005 were below the national average of 22 per cent in only two provinces -- British Columbia (18 per cent) and Ontario (21 per cent).
Smoking rates were highest in Nunavut (53 per cent), Northwest Territories (36 per cent) and Yukon (30 per cent).
The survey of 13,000 people asked Canadians questions about several health-related topics, from how they rate their own health, to diabetes and drinking habits. The latest results are based on answers given in 2005.
According to the survey, Quebecers reported the highest level of day-to-day stress while Newfoundland and Labrador reported the least.
"Stress has significant negative impacts, overlay impacts in terms of health, either in terms of creating problems or making underlying medical problems that much worse," Dr. Marla Shapiro told CTV Newsnet on Tuesday.
About 26 per cent of Quebecers reported that they were either quite or extremely stressed during their daily life compared to the national average of 23.2 per cent.
In contrast, Newfoundland and Labrador are the most relaxed with only 15.2 per cent reporting similar stress levels.
* 1.3 million Canadians over the age of 12, or 5 per cent of the population, reported being diagnosed with diabetes in 2005. Rates were significantly higher than that in eastern provinces.
* Nationally, 15.5 per cent of Canadians were considered obese in 2005. That is compared to an obesity rate of 14.9 per cent in 2003. The findings are based on respondents providing their weight and height measurements for the Body Mass Index.
06-14-2006 10:20 AM
Now they are gonna show fat bastards on chip bags with big warning labels. Like they did on cigarettes. Maybe it would work ..
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