Obesity Prevention and Management Strategies in Canada: Shifting Paradigms and Putting People First

Curr Obes Rep. 2018 Jun;7(2):89-96. doi: 10.1007/s13679-018-0309-8.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this study was to review public and private sector obesity policies in Canada and to make recommendations for future evidence-based obesity prevention and management strategies.

Recent findings: Synthesis of obesity prevention and management policies and research studies are presented in three primary themes: (1) Increased awareness about the impact of weight bias and obesity stigma in Canada; (2) Inadequate government obesity prevention and management policies and strategies; and (3) Lack of comprehensive private sector obesity prevention and management policies. Findings suggest that in Canada, obesity continues to be treated as a self-inflicted risk factor, which affects the type of interventions and approaches that are implemented by governments or covered by private health plans. The lack of recognition of obesity as a chronic disease by Canadian public and private payers, health systems, employers, and the public, has a trickle-down effect on access to evidence-based prevention and treatment. Although there is increasing recognition and awareness about the impact of weight bias and obesity stigma on the health and social well-being of Canadians, interventions are urgently needed in education, healthcare, and public policy sectors. We conclude by making recommendations for the advancement of evidence-based obesity prevention and management policies that can improve the lives of Canadians affected by obesity.

Keywords: Management; Obesity; Policy; Prevention; Stigma; Weight bias.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control
  • Chronic Disease / trends
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine* / trends
  • Health Promotion* / trends
  • Healthy Lifestyle*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement / trends
  • Needs Assessment
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Obesity Management / trends
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Pediatric Obesity / therapy
  • Policy Making
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Private Sector / trends
  • Public-Private Sector Partnerships / trends
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Stigma