Childhood obesity in Canada: a review of prevalence estimates and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes

Can J Appl Physiol. 2003 Feb;28(1):117-40. doi: 10.1139/h03-010.


Childhood obesity in Canada has become increasingly prevalent over the past 2 decades. Despite inconsistencies regarding different anthropometric indicators, cut-offs, and reference populations, both regional and national investigations have revealed high numbers of overweight and obese children and adolescents. A number of risk factors and health consequences have been associated with increased levels of body fatness in youth. Specifically, risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and type 2 diabetes are known to develop early in life and tend to emerge in clusters among overweight youngsters. Unhealthy lifestyle behaviours (i.e., physical inactivity), a genetic disposition, and a centralized body fat distribution, all contribute to increased risk. In order to prevent future generations of children from experiencing increased morbidity and mortality as overweight and obese adults, coordinated efforts at all levels (family, school, community, and government) must be established with a long-term commitment to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviours in our youth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors