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Indicator Metadata

Name Obesity (Age 18 and Older)
Short/Other Names

Percentage of Adults Considered Obese, Self-Reported

Description This indicator measures the percentage of adults who are considered to be obese (body mass index higher than 30), based on self-reported height and weight.
Interpretation High results are undesirable.
HSP Framework Dimension

Social Determinants of Health: Biological, material, psychosocial and behavioural factors

Areas of Need

Not applicable

Geographic Coverage

All provinces/territories

Reporting Level/Disaggregation

National, Province/Territory, Region

Indicator Results

Accessing Indicator Results on Your Health System: In Depth

Identifying Information
Name Obesity (Age 18 and Older)
Short/Other Names

Percentage of Adults Considered Obese, Self-Reported

Indicator Description and Calculation
Description This indicator measures the percentage of adults who are considered to be obese (body mass index higher than 30), based on self-reported height and weight.
Calculation: Description

Population age 18 and older considered obese divided by the total population age 18 and older

Population estimates are based on weighted survey responses to reflect the total population.

Calculation: Geographic Assignment

Place of residence

Calculation: Type of Measurement

Percentage or proportion

Calculation: Adjustment Applied

None

Calculation: Method of Adjustment

Not applicable

Denominator

Description:
Population age 18 and older (based on weighted survey responses)
Exclusions:
1. Pregnant females and persons less than 3 feet (0.914 metres) tall or greater than 6 feet 11 inches (2.108 metres) tall

2. Non-response categories (refusal, don't know and not stated) are excluded.

Numerator

Description:
Population age 18 and older with body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30.00 kg/m2, based on self-reported height and weight (based on weighted survey responses)

BMI is calculated by dividing the respondent's body weight (in kilograms) by his or her height (in metres) squared. Given that the literature shows self-reported data among adults underestimates weight and overestimates height, the CCHS applied BMI correction equations to the obesity estimates.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) and Health Canada guidelines, the index for body weight classification is as follows:

  • Less than 18.50: underweight
  • 18.50 to 24.99: normal weight
  • 25.00 to 29.99: overweight
  • 30.00 to 34.99: obese, class I
  • 35.00 to 39.99: obese, class II
  • 40.00 or greater: obese, class III
Background, Interpretation and Benchmarks
Rationale

The prevalence of obesity has been increasing in Canada, and obesity is a risk factor for chronic diseases and cancer. Factors associated with obesity include dietary behaviours, physical inactivity and characteristics of the environment such as access to active modes of transportation and healthy foods.

Interpretation

High results are undesirable.

HSP Framework Dimension

Social Determinants of Health: Biological, material, psychosocial and behavioural factors

Areas of Need

Not applicable

Targets/Benchmarks

Not applicable

References

Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: International survey. British Medical Journal. 2000.

Health Canada. Canadian Guidelines for Body Weight Classification in Adults — Quick Reference Tool for Professionals. 2003.

Statistics Canada. Canadian Community Health Survey — Annual component (CCHS). Accessed February 20, 2020.

Statistics Canada. Health characteristics, two-year period estimates. Accessed February 20, 2020.

Availability of Data Sources and Results
Data Sources

CCHS, Statistics Canada, Statistics Canada, Table 13-10-0113-01: Health characteristics, two-year period estimates (by age group and sex, Canada, provinces, territories and health regions).

Available Data Years

Type of Year:
Calendar
First Available Year:
2017
Last Available Year:
2018

Geographic Coverage

All provinces/territories

Reporting Level/Disaggregation

National, Province/Territory, Region

Result Updates
Update Frequency

Every year

Indicator Results

Web Tool:
Your Health System: In Depth
URL:
Accessing Indicator Results on Your Health System: In Depth

Updates

Not applicable

Quality Statement
Caveats and Limitations

Self-reported height and weight generally underestimate BMI. Using data from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) subsample, where both measured and self-reported height and weight were collected, Statistics Canada developed BMI correction equations that were applied in these estimates.

This indicator is calculated based on 2 years of pooled data from 2017 and 2018.

Data for the CCHS is collected yearly from a sample of approximately 65,000 respondents. Table 13-10-0113-01 presents estimates from 2-year combined data and features estimates for all provinces and territories as well as for health regions. The 2-year combined data has higher precision (less variability) than annual estimates; annual CCHS estimates are not available at the health region level.

Some values have data quality flags that indicate "use with caution" or "suppressed" due to high coefficients of variation: health regions with small populations and results disaggregated by age group or sex within small regions.

The CCHS covers the population age 12 and older living in the 10 provinces and 3 territories. Excluded from the survey's coverage are

  • Persons living on reserves and in other Indigenous settlements in the provinces
  • Full-time members of the Canadian Forces
  • The population of institutionalized persons
  • Persons living in 2 Quebec health regions: Nunavik Region and Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James Region

Altogether, these exclusions represent less than 3% of the Canadian population age 12 and older.

Trending Issues

As a result of a redesign in 2015, the CCHS has a new collection strategy and sample design. For this reason, Statistics Canada does not recommend making comparisons with CCHS data from 2001 to 2014.

In addition to the 2015 CCHS redesign, a definition change was implemented in 2004 to conform with WHO and Health Canada guidelines for body weight classification. The index is calculated for the population age 18 and older, excluding pregnant females and persons less than 3 feet (0.914 metres) tall or greater than 6 feet 11 inches (2.108 metres) tall.

Comments

Data for Ontario's local health integration networks and British Columbia's regional health authorities was received from Statistics Canada through custom tabulation requests:

Source: Statistics Canada. Selected CCHS Indicators for Ontario by Local Health Integration Network and British Columbia Regional Health Authority, 2017–2018. January 2020. Reproduced and distributed on an "as is" basis with the permission of Statistics Canada.

Indicator results are also available in

Please note that these results are calculated based on the population age 15+.

Please note that these results are calculated based on age-standardization to the 2011 Canadian standard population.