It's Time To Start Taking Obesity Seriously: Ontario's Doctors

TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - For over three years, Ontario's doctors have been raising awareness about the growing obesity epidemic in the province.  Today, Ontario's doctors are renewing their call for all partners including government to work together to immediately tackle rising obesity rates.

Ontario's doctors pointed to the concerted and ongoing efforts that have been made to reduce the number of smokers and provide help to people that want to quit.  Since the initial warnings about the health effects of tobacco and related illness, it has taken over 45 years to achieve the reduced smoking rates we see today. Recent initiatives in the Smoke Free Ontario Act have made smoking cessation drugs more readily available for patients who want to quit, it is against the law to smoke in the car with someone under 16, and smoking inside a restaurant or bar is now unheard of. As a result of these comparatively recent achievements, the number of people smoking in Ontario has gone from almost 50% to less than 20%.

Similarly, the impacts of obesity can no longer be ignored. An OMA report, pointed out that there is evidence linking type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, certain types of sleep apnea and the development of chronic kidney disease later in life to children who are overweight or obese. Overall, the health impacts of overweight and obesity are estimated to cost Ontario $2.2 to $2.5 billion per year.

Ontario's doctors have already released a plan and are urging the government and all parties to implement the following initiatives:

  • Legislation that would require calorie contents be listed adjacent to the items on menus  and menu boards at chain restaurants and school cafeterias;
  • An education campaign to help inform Ontarians about the impact of caloric intake on weight and obesity;
  • The development of a childhood obesity strategy complete with targets and indicators; and
  • Making physical activity/education mandatory throughout high school.

QUOTES

"The fact is we are raising the first generation of children that will not outlive their parents if current obesity trends and rates continue. Ontario's doctors are calling on the government to demonstrate the same resolve and commitment they did when they were stomping out tobacco, and apply those efforts to tackling obesity rates."

Stewart Kennedy, MD
President, Ontario Medical Association

"Obesity is an epidemic in Ontario and we can't afford to wait any longer before the first steps are taken. The health impact on our children today along with the future health care expenditures to treat obesity related illnesses are too prohibitive. We need action today."

Stewart Kennedy, MD
President, Ontario Medical Association

Quick Facts

  • Approximately 60% of adults in Ontario are overweight or obese, some studies say as high as 70%;
  • 26% of Canadian children between two and 17 years of age are considered overweight (18%) or obese (8%);
  • Statistics indicate that 75% of obese children will be obese adults.

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information:

OMA Media Relations at (416)340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862
media@oma.org
www.oma.org  @Ontariosdoctors


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