5 Signs Canadians are Getting Fatter

If there was any question that the average Canadian’s daily habits have had a negative effect on their overall health, the answer now seems to be all too clear. A landmark study released earlier this month by Statistics Canada reveals that Canadians of all ages are alarmingly heavier, wider and weaker than they were nearly three decades ago.

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Evidence in a recent survey by Statistics Canada shows that Canadians are becoming fatter and less fit.

Evidence in a recent survey by Statistics Canada shows that Canadians are becoming fatter and less fit.

Here are five unflattering results from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) that found nearly two-thirds of adults and a quarter of children in the country are overweight or obese. Plus, we’ve got tips on what you can do to slim down and stay fit.

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1. Packing on the Pounds

1. Packing on the Pounds

Canadians of all ages are looking flabbier than they were back in 1981 due to putting on more weight. The study revealed that between 1981 and 2009, the average weight of a 45-year-old man increased by 20 pounds, and a woman of the same age saw her weight go up an extra 12 pounds in the same time period.

As for kids, the average 12-year-old boy is a startling 14 pounds heavier today than in 1981, and girls are 11 pounds heavier. Even more alarming, about 26 per cent of children aged 6 to 11 are overweight or obese.

The survey also noted that the average body mass index (BMI) in all age and gender groups was considered to be overweight.

What’s BMI?
Your BMI is a number calculated from your weight and height. This number is an indicator of body fatness, and is also used to assess a person’s potential risk of developing health problems.

Find out your BMI using the BMI Calculator.

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2. Waistlines Have Expanded

2. Waistlines Have Expanded

Think your pants feel a little too tight? You’re not alone. A 45-year-old man today has a waist circumference of 38.2 inches as compared to 1981, when the waistline average was 35.7 inches. That’s an increase of two-and-a-half inches.

Women don’t fare any better. Three decades ago, the average 45-year-old woman had a waist circumference of 30 inches. Today? Her waist size is 32.8 inches, an increase of nearly three inches.

Shrink that waist
Learn about four simple lifestyle changes to help you weigh less.

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3. Not So Muscle-Bound

3. Not So Muscle-Bound

It appears that Canadians have also gotten physically weaker. The survey revealed that in 1981, the average 45-year-old man could apply 104 kg of pressure in a grip strength test, and a woman of the same age could squeeze 62 kg. These days, the average has gone down to 94 kg and 56 kg for men and women respectively.

Strengthen your body
Build muscle by following this eight-step strength-training routine.

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4. Kids Flopping in Flexibility

4. Kids Flopping in Flexibility

There’s more bad news for the so-called “Playstation Generation” of kids who no longer play outside but rather can be found sitting at home and watching TV, surfing the internet, or playing video games. The survey revealed that kids aren’t as flexible as they once were.

Using a sit-and-reach fitness test, the report’s authors found an average 12-year-old in 1981 could stretch 26.5 cm, and in 2009, he could only stretch 21.4 cm.

Girls are no better off. Between 1981 to 2009, the average 12-year-old girl’s flexibility has gone from 32 cm to 28.2 cm.

Get kids moving
Keep your young ones moving with these fun activity suggestions.
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5. Fitness Levels Have Plummeted

5. Fitness Levels Have Plummeted

Kids aren’t the only ones whose fitness levels have significantly declined. Canadians of all ages appear to be having trouble doing sit-ups.

Among adults in the CHMS, a mere 31 per cent of 20- to 39-year-old females completed the fitness test that required them to do a full 25 curl ups in one minute. Four per cent of 60- to 69-year-old women could finish the set.

Men fared better, with 55 per cent of males aged 20 to 39 able to finish the one-minute 25 curl set. Twelve per cent of men aged 60 to 69 men could do the full set.

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