by L. Lee Coyne Ph.D.

Overweight and obesity have become common health conditions and their prevalence is increasing globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally 1.2 billion people are overweight, about the same number as those whose living conditions and access to food cause them to be underweight.

Many serious health problems are associate with excess weight. Some of the major correlations with obesity, as reported by Aviva et all in the Journal of the American Medical Association in October 1999, include:
  • high blood pressure – 3 times more prevalent,
  • type II diabetes - 13 to 18 more common among the heaviest individuals,
  • gall-bladder disease – 21 times more common,
  • heart disease -  3 to 5 times more prevalent, and
  • osteo arthritis - 30 times more common.
My personal editorial comment is that “obesity” per se causes nothing other than fatigue from carrying dead weight around all day. Obesity is just one of the obvious symptoms of a larger picture of physical inactivity and poor eating habits. These life-style issues contribute to the development of the various disease conditions and obesity is usually the result of the same cause.

A very disturbing trend in obesity statistics is the high incidence among children.

The Nov. 27/2000 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal shows the rate of obesity among Canadian boys, aged 7 to 13 years, tripled between 1981 and 1996. Girls of the same age group have twice the prevalence over the same time period. Current (2000/2001) estimates show up to 30% of Canadian children overweight and 12-14% are obese. When you consider the correlations with other health disorders, it should become apparent that our children need help to prevent future health-care disasters.