Obesity Prevention Learning from Tobacco Control

Pre-Conference Event Examines Lessons Learned and Opportunities Ahead

OTTAWA, Nov. 1, 2011 /CNW/ - While tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada, the rise in obesity rates among both children and adults is a close second and threatens to overtake the number one position without appropriate interventions.

"Two thirds of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese, along with 25 per cent of children," said Dr. David Hammond, associate professor at the University of Waterloo School of Public Health and Health Systems. "Obesity rates are increasing across all socioeconomic status groups, age groups and geographic regions."

Dramatic population level changes can happen over a short period of time, but individual level factors cannot explain either the rise or fall of tobacco use, or the increase in obesity.

"Reductions in smoking are largely the result of specific policy interventions, with price increases through tobacco taxation being most effective," continued Hammond. "Along with changes in where you can smoke, how tobacco companies can market products, and how smoking risk is communicated to the consumer, these interventions have helped reduce smoking prevalence in Canada from 50 per cent in 1960's to 17 per cent in 2010."

Hammond believes that similar policy interventions could lead to a major change in obesity rates among Canadians, and he is not alone in this opinion.  Tobacco control professionals from across Canada are gathering to share information and lessons learned with delegates working on obesity prevention.

Through the exchange of knowledge, particularly what worked and did not work for tobacco control, the goal of reducing obesity rates in Canada through policy intervention can get a head start.

SOURCE 7th National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTH)

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To arrange interviews with conference spokespeople, please contact:

Matt Drennan-Scace

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7th National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTH)

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