A recent report done by The Public Health Agency of Canada indicates more Canadians are heavier than ever

The Public Health Agency of Canada recently reported that between 1981 to 2009 obesity rates have almost doubled among males and females in both adults and youths.

The report also suggested that one in four Canadian adults are obese, according to measured height and weight data from 2007 to 2009.

MRU student Sarah Gilmar measures in to track her weight loss.

Photo by: Gina IaquintaStudy Highlights

  • Of children and youth aged six to 17, 8.6 per cent are obese
  • The economic costs of obesity were estimated at $4.6 billion in 2008, about 19 per cent higher from $3.9 billion in 2000
  • Factors that influence obesity include physical activity, diet, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, immigration, and environmental factors
  •  Strategies to combat obesity and address the environments that encourage obesity fell into three main categories:
  1. health services and clinical interventions that target individuals;
  2. community-level interventions that directly influence individual and group behaviors;
  3. public policies that target broad social or environmental determinants.

According Health Canada, next to smoking; poor eating habits, physical inactivity and their contribution to obesity are the greatest threat to public health in Canada.

A Calgary woman’s battle against weight gain

Sarah Gilmar, 22, is one Canadian that has represented some of these statistics.

Weighing in at 183 pounds, this five ft. five Mount Royal University student said she completely lost control of what she was putting in her mouth.

Gilmar said her weight gain began with an injury in June when she was crossing a street in downtown Calgary and struck by a car.

The accident left her with little mobility and she said that’s when she really started putting on the weight.

Over the course of three months, from June to August, she gained 30lbs.

She said that before the accident she was very active, regularly went for walks and did a lot of dancing.

“I didn’t really notice at first and then I started to get frustrated with the gaining (weight) and noticed how I looked, and not liking it, and knowing I couldn’t work-out.

“I was emotionally eating because of the accident, because I was bored and because I had nothing to do since I wasn’t mobile,” she said.

On top of being injured, Gilmar said she had been stressed about her demands as a student and working at her job as a claims adjuster, which left her with little time to prepare healthy meals.

“When you don’t have someone cooking for you, you reach for something quick and easy, and get back to working or studying,” she said.

“I got to a point where I said, ‘enough is enough’ and got some help because I couldn’t do it myself.”

Personal health coach Jessica Chalk said when it comes to weight issues, “it’s much like being an alcoholic, it’s that same kind of pattern, you really have to hit rock-bottom before you’re ready to change.”

The most important step towards losing excess weight is identifying the ‘why’, she said.

At the end of August, Gilmar began dieting with help from a weight loss company.

She said that in the end she has learned that everything is a choice and there will be consequences.

“Instead of grabbing a bag of chips, I’ll grab carrots,” she said. “I lost control and didn’t make the right choices, and now I am choosing how to eat and watch my food intake, and make smarter choices.”

Gilmar admits that losing weight is not easy, but she said it’s all about changing your living habits and planning your meals.

“At home it’s easy because you fill your house with the food you’re supposed to eat,” she said.

Since August, Gilmar has lost 13 pounds and 23 inches, and said shes beginning to feel healthier than ever.

She continues to diet with a goal of shedding up to 50 more pounds.

giaquinta@cjournal.ca