Overweight and obesity in Canadian adolescents and their associations with dietary habits and physical activity patterns

J Adolesc Health. 2004 Nov;35(5):360-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2003.11.095.


Purpose: To present recent overweight and obesity prevalence rates for 11-16-year-old Canadian youth and to examine associations between overweight and obesity with dietary habits and leisure-time physical activities.

Methods: Nationally representative sample of 11-16-year-old adolescents (n = 5890) from the Canadian component of the 2001/02 World Health Organization Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children Survey were used. Height, weight, dietary habits, and leisure-time activities were determined from self-report. Age- and gender-specific prevalence rates of overweight and obesity were calculated based on international body mass index cut-points. Logistic regression was employed to examine the association among measures of overweight, obesity, and lifestyle habits.

Results: Fifteen percent of 11-16-year-old Canadian youth were overweight (preobese) and 4.6% were obese in 2002. These prevalence rates were greater in boys than girls (p < .001), but did not vary according to age. There were no clear associations observed between dietary habits and measures of overweight and obesity. However, physical activity levels were lower (p < or = .05) and television viewing times were higher (p < .01) in overweight and obese boys and girls than normal-weight youth.

Conclusions: The prevalence rates of overweight and obesity in Canadian youth are high. The results suggest that physical inactivity and sedentary behaviors are strongly related to obesity in Canadian adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Exercise*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution