Manitoba doctors say obesity is becoming major concern in Canada

Obesity and its consequences have become the leading preventable cause of death and cancer in Canada. In the past, diet and exercise were seen as the only ways to address weight concerns, but experts argue that may no longer be the case.

“Changes in eating, and activity are actually outcomes of treatment,” said Dr. David Macklin, who has spent the past 20 years researching Obesity Medicine, and says the science has changed greatly in recent years.

And while he admits the consequences of obesity are dire, they are also treatable.

“If behavioural therapy and medical therapy are being provided and effective. It’s that treatment that allows someone to make changes in their eating and activity,” said Dr. Macklin.

“Rather than someone choosing to have these medical consequences and suffer from extra weight, these are individuals living with a real disease.”

Ian Patton has seen his weight fluctuate throughout his life.  And says a more specialized approach is needed.

“By the time I was 30, I had hypertension, had sleep apnea, I was really sick,” explained Dr. Patton, the director of advocacy with Obesity Canada.

“I think it’s time for us to look at this differently than how we have in the past, where this is the way you have to do it. It’s kinda individualized and based on each person.”

The latest stats from the World Obesity Atlas found approximately 30 per cent of Canadian adults are living with obesity. With estimates indicating by 2035 that percentage could rise as high as 49 per cent.  This is why Dr. Macklin says the time is now to recognize obesity as a chronic disease. 

“If we apply appropriate treatment to those who are vulnerable to the struggle of weight, we see a course correction in obesity rates,” explained Dr. Maklin.

In early April, Dr. Macklin along with 500 leading obesity and hypertension experts will meet in Alberta for a three day conference to explore further treatments and pivotal policy changes needed to help address the nation’s most pressing health concerns.

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