Canadian Health Measures Survey: Fatter! Weaker! Slower! Sicker!

Between 1981 and 2009, fitness levels of Canadian children and youth, as well as those of adults, declined significantly, according to the first findings from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS).

BMI measurements have shown that Canadian adults have become heavier over the past 25 years.

However, the BMI is only one indicator. The CHMS offer a variety of other measures to gain a more complete understanding of fitness levels associated with current and future risk of disease. Survey respondents underwent body composition measurements and participated in fitness tests in mobile examination centres.

Fitness levels of children and youth have declined significantly since 1981, regardless of age or sex. Fitness levels of adults have also declined, particularly among younger adults.

Among youth aged 15 to 19, the percentage whose waist circumference put them at an increased or high risk of health problems more than tripled.

Among young adults aged 20 to 39, the percentage with a waist circumference that placed them at a high risk for health problems more than quadrupled. The proportions went from 5% to 21% among men, and from 6% to 31% among women.

Roughly 3% of the adult population had high blood pressure that was undiagnosed in 2009.

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