VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 1, 2011) - In what is asserted to be the healthiest province in the country, a vast majority of British Columbians believe that many adults and children are not living up to that claim.

In a poll conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of the BC Medical Association, 88% of British Columbians said that adult obesity is cause for concern and 86% believe childhood obesity is a serious problem – even though most parents say their own child's activity levels and eating habits are not a problem.

The poll also showed that only 48% of British Columbians are satisfied with their weight and 45% satisfied with their level of fitness. The biggest reasons stated for people not taking better care of themselves are lack of time, with lack of energy a close second. The most common form of exercise among respondents is walking at 49%, followed far behind by going to the gym, team sports, swimming and golf. As well, healthy food that is more expensive and unhealthy food that is readily available are the number one and two reasons for not eating better.

Over the last 25 years, the rate of childhood obesity has tripled. Today, 25% of children between the ages of 2 and 17 are considered overweight or obese, but that percentage increases to 29% of all teens aged 12 to 17. This means that more than one-quarter of Canadian children are much heavier than they should be in order to maintain good health. The rates of adult obesity also continue to rise.

"We know that being overweight or inactive contributes to many health problems down the line such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, and many kinds of cancer. So why is the population – but most notably our kids – getting heavier? This flies in the face of common sense," said Dr. Barry Turchen, BCMA Board Member and family physician.

Uncovering ways to drive the message home will be the key to winning the battle in the foreseeable future. We do know that when patients have access to and guidance from their family physician health outcomes improve. The development of a health prevention plan between a family physician and their patient is the first step in battling obesity.

The omnibus poll conducted by Ipsos Reid in January 2011 surveyed 800 adult British Columbians. The results are accurate within +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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Contact Information: BC Medical Association
Sharon Shore
604-638-2832 or 604-306-1866