Helping you detect, treat and manage arthritis

Canadian Obesity Network publishes first-ever Report Card On Access to Obesity Treatment

Canadian Obesity Network publishes first-ever Report Card On Access to Obesity Treatment For Adults in Canada 2017

A paradigm shift in the prevention and treatment of obesity.

Report Card on Obesity Treatment Cover PhotoThe report is a shift away from considering obesity to be merely the result of poor lifestyle choices toward a socio-ecological model of health that carries with it an obligation to our health systems and society to prevent and treat it as we do other chronic diseases.

Understanding your Body Mass Index (BMI)
Health Canada’s Canadian Guidelines for Body Weight Classification in Adults uses the Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine if someone is overweight. You can calculate your BMI using the formula below or online here:

BMI = weight (kg)/height (m)2

Health Canada’s Health Risk Classification According to Body Mass Index (BMI) table shows the correlation between your BMI score and your risk of developing health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and cancer. Please note other factors may influence your BMI. You should consult your family physician if you are concerned about being overweight.

Classification BMI Category (kg/m2) Risk of developing health problems
Underweight < 18.5 Increased
Normal weight 18.5 – 24.9 Least
Overweight 25.0 – 29.9 Increased
Obese class I 30.0 – 34.9 High
Obese class II 35.0 – 39.9 Very high
Obese class III > = 40.0 Extremely high

Weight management and arthritis
Lifestyle and prevention strategies play a big role in our health outcomes and quality of life as we age. People who are overweight are at a greater risk of developing painful hip, knee and hand osteoarthritis (OA). For every pound of extra weight a woman has, she is putting four pounds of pressure on her knees. If you are overweight, consider the following goals:

  • Exercise to lose 10 pounds to reduce your chance of getting OA by 50 percent.
  • Exercise to lose 15 pounds to decrease your risk of becoming obese.
  • Set a goal of getting back to your ideal body weight. It will reduce your chance of getting OA.

Because of the strong correlation between weight management and arthritis, Arthritis Consumer Experts would like to share the Canadian Obesity Network’s Report Card On Access to Obesity Treatment For Adults in Canada 2017.

The Canadian Obesity Network’s Report Card On Access to Obesity Treatment For Adults in Canada 2017
The report states that Canadians living with obesity are “gravely underserved by Canada’s public health systems and private benefit plans”. The report makes seven key recommendations to improve Canada’s response to obesity, chief among them being the adoption of a true chronic disease approach to provide treatment and ongoing support for those with the disease. To view the recommendations, the full report, online summaries and other materials including study methodology, go to: www.obesitynetwork.ca/reportcard.

The report also provides some key findings about obesity management in Canada:

  • There is a profound lack of interdisciplinary healthcare services for obesity management in Canada.
  • A very limited number of Canadian physicians are pursuing formal training and certification in obesity management.
  • Canadians who may benefit from medically-supervised weight management programs with meal replacements are expected to pay out-of-pocket for the meal replacements, in sharp contrast with coverage available for meal replacements used in diabetes, cystic fibrosis and cancer care.
  • Those who rely on public coverage for prescription drug costs do not have access to the two prescription anti-obesity medications in Canada. Pharmacare programs in all the provinces and territories, as well as federal public drug benefit programs, receive a grade of F.
  • Less than 20% of the Canadian population with private drug benefit plans have access to these medications.
  • Nationally, bariatric surgery is available to only 1 in 183 adults (or 0.54%) every year who may be eligible for it. There are vast differences in access to bariatric surgery from one province to the next.
  • Wait times between referral to bariatric surgery and consultation with a surgical team receive a grade of F in all provinces; wait times between consultation and bariatric surgery receive a C grade in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Alberta, and a B grade in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

Research suggests that obesity can be successfully managed using the interventions outlined in the Canadian guidelines. If left untreated, obesity can result in significant illness, a profound reduction in quality of life, and increased mortality. “We have a long way to go in Canada before we can say we properly support people with obesity, not just with evidence-based medical interventions, but also with the respect and dignity that any person deserves,” says chair of CON-RCO’s Public Engagement Committee Marty Enokson.