Obesity rates are rising in many developed nations – especially in the west – and Canada is no exception. In the last 30 years, obesity rates for Canadian adults have nearly doubled, and are now at 26 percent. While this is still lower than the 34.9 percent of obese American adults, it’s a growing problem.
To tackle the problem of the piling pounds, Canadian health officials have released a new set of guidelines for doctors, designed to prevent obesity before it plagues an individual and raises their risk of many chronic health ills. The guidelines state that preventing even a minor amount of gained weight could be significant.
According to Dr. Raj Padwal of the University of Alberta, these preventative measures will reach much farther than the doctor’s office, and will hone in reducing consumption of foods very high in calories, getting people moving, and discouraging sedentary behaviors.
Dr. Brett Thombs, of Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital, stated, “weight really creeps up on people. People don’t realize they’re putting on a pound a year until it’s too late.” For this reason, the guidelines encourage doctors to calculate BMI at regular checkups, to keep track of weight carefully, and to offer certain diet and exercise-focused programs to those who are overweight or obese.
The new guidelines also discourage the prescription of weight loss medications, citing reasons of digestive side effects in studies. There may be another reason to stay away from weight loss meds, too. As we reported last year, some research has found that people taking weight loss drugs may gain more weight, due to guilt-free binge eating.
Next for the Canadian healthcare system is to try to implement these guidelines, which may prove challenging, as some physicians are very busy and do not have sufficient resources to properly impart the obesity-preventative measures. However, the guidelines represent an important step.
Obesity is one of the most avoidable public health threats that we face, and any constructive step we can take to prevent it should be given due consideration.
-The Alternative Daily