Weighing Adult Obesity Statistics – Where is North America Fat?

adult obesity statistics

North American children are by far more obese than they were a century ago, but people are living longer, too. Part of this shift has been education, economic change, quality of life, advances in medical field and technology, as well as health practices of individuals around the continent. But how do Canada and America compare?

The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) in the United States keeps some interesting tabs on Americans and their weight gain, weight loss, and overall health. Obesity in the USA is staggering, and Canada is not far behind.

Adult obesity statistics in NCHS Data Brief (CDC) shows similar trends between countries

CDC adult obesity statistics were covered by M Shields, MD Carroll, and CL Ogden, and compared the two countries, as well as those of Hispanic ethnic origin. The results of the adult obesity statistics were from the No. 56 March 2011 issue (2013 data is not yet available) of the NCHS Data Brief entitled Adult Obesity Prevalence in Canada and the United States.

Here is a quote on the bottom line of some of the research:

CDC Adult Obesity Statistics (2011)

Note: “Data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey, 2007–2009; the Canadian Heart Health Surveys, 1986–1992; and the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988–1994 and


“The prevalence of obesity among adults in Canada is lower than it is in the United States.

“Among the non-Hispanic white population, the prevalence of obesity is lower in Canada than in the United States, but the difference is not as large as it is when comparing the entire populations.

“Between the late 1980s and 2007–2009, the prevalence of obesity increased in both Canada and the United States.

“In 2007–2009, the prevalence of obesity among young and middle-aged Canadian women was similar to that observed in U.S. women 20 years earlier.”

BMI used for assessing risk of adverse health in obese men and women

The body mass index (BMI) is used to help assess the risk of adverse health effects. BMI for obesity was divided into these three categories:

Obesity class I – BMI 30.0–34.9

Obesity class II – BMI 35.0–39.9

Obesity class III – BMI 40.0 or higher

In all three of these categories, the prevalence toward obesity was “significantly lower in Canada than in the United States.” However, over the years, Canada, not unlike America, has been steadily increasing, so Canadians are not necessarily ‘healthier’ if they are merely behind the trend of the US for obesity.

The highest BMI category showed the US at 6% compared with 3.1% in Canada for obesity prevalence estimates (compared with estimates from 1988-94 NHANES, and 1986-92 CHHS (Canadian Heart Health Surveys). Both countries have been rising significantly since the surveys taken years before, with their magnitude increases being similar between the two countries.

The rise of adult obesity statistics between genders

Adult obesity between the genders is as shown here:

10% Canadian men
12% US men

8% Canadian women
10% US women

Overall, the adult obesity statistics between countries were very similar, but showed that Canada is likely following the trends of adult obesity statistics in the USA. This is something that may continue if the eating habits of Canadians do not change fairly quickly.

For seek more information you can check out the CDC website on adult obesity statistics or for fast stats on being overweight.

The author of this story is a freelance contributor to National Nutraceuticals’ online news portals, such as Amino Acid Information Center at http://www.aminoacidinformation.com and Vancouver Health News at http://www.VancouverHealthNews.ca.  National Nutraceuticals, Inc. also owns and operates a third health news portal focusing on medicinal mushrooms at http://medicinalmushroominfo.com, plus our newest portal at http://todayswordofwisdom.com.

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