Objectives: This article describes the prevalence of overweight and obesity among Canadian children and youth aged 2 to 17, based on direct measurements of their height and weight. Data from 1978/79 and 2004 are compared, and trends by sex and age groups are presented.
Data sources: Data based on direct measurements are from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS): Nutrition. Other information is from the 1978/79 Canada Health Survey and the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted in the US.
Analytical techniques: The estimated prevalence of overweight and of obesity, including an overall rate reflecting both, was based on 2004 CCHS data for 8,661 children and youth whose height and weight were measured.
Main results: In 2004, 26% of Canadian children and adolescents aged 2 to 17 were overweight or obese, and 8% were obese. Over the past 25 years, the prevalence of overweight and obesity combined has more than doubled among youth aged 12 to 17, while the prevalence of obesity alone has tripled. Children and youth who ate fruit and vegetables at least five times a day were substantially less likely to be overweight or obese than were those who ate these foods less often. The likelihood of being overweight/obese rose as "screen time" (watching TV, playing video games or using a computer) increased.