Obesity a major health issue in Canada

With 59% of Canadian adults being overweight and 23% being obese, plus the disturbing increase in childhood obesity, it is clear that obesity is a major individual and public health issue in Canada.

Dr. David Lau, Chair of the Obesity Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines Steering Committee and professor of medicine at the University of Calgary, provides a synopsis of the 2006 Canadian clinical practice guidelines on the management and prevention of obesity in adults and children (published with this issue of CMAJ).

Lau reviews the numerous goals of the guidelines, the key recommendations, what is new in the guidelines and what the future holds. Stepping on a scale and plotting weight and height on a graph are no longer enough. This comprehensive set of guidelines addresses a variety of factors that contribute to successful weight management, including physical activity strategies, behaviour modification counselling and public policy initiatives.

In a related commentary, Dr. Sarah McDonald provides a critical overview of the guidelines. She identifies gaps in our knowledge of obesity management and prevention and calls for large, long-term trials to address them.

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