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...de Only The Lonely (SSP)

 

You are where you eat, study shows

 

EDMONTON -- A broad look at Canadian cities suggests that when it comes to your weight, you are where you eat.

 

Researchers at the University of Alberta have put together an obesity map they say comes from a pretty common-sense idea.

 

"Several people have pointed it out as a possible or likely cause for increasing obesity rates; that is, that increasing the access to fast food or poor-quality foods might somehow be contributing," said health economics professor Sean Cash.

 

He and his fellow researchers decided to put that idea to the test by combining obesity figures from cities across the country with the density of the most popular fast-food restaurants. The research was completed earlier this year and presented in poster form at an Agricultural Institute of Canada conference.

 

"We found there was actually a fairly strong relationship, a strong correlation between the two, that those cities that had higher obesity and overweight rates tended to have a higher density of at least the larger fast-food restaurant chains, so there were more restaurants per person in those cities," Cash said.

 

 

 

The big picture

 

A list of the different cities in Canada, along with their percentage of obesity, according to 2006 Statistics Canada data and their number of the fast-food outlets per 10,000 people:

[pre]

% POP. Obese # of Fast Food Outlets per 10,000 people

St. John's, NL., 36.40%, 3.54

Saint John, N.B., 34.70%, 4.11

Hamilton 34.60%, 3.00

Thunder Bay, 32.60%, 2.68

Regina, 31.80%, 3.08

Saskatoon, 27.00%, 2.94

Calgary, 25.70%, 3.23

Winnipeg, 25.20%, 2.75

Abbotsford, B.C., 25.00%, 2.96

Montreal, 21.20%, 1.44

Edmonton, 20.10%, 3.14

Ottawa, 9.70%, 2.54

Victoria, 19.00%, 2.55

Halifax, 18.40%, 3.85

Quebec, 17.30%, 1.97

Toronto, 15.60%, 2.05

Vancouver, 11.70%, 2.03

 

[/pre]

 

 

Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto were some of the cities with the lowest density of these restaurants, about two or less per 10,000 people. Those cities also had lower incidences of obesity.

 

The areas with higher density, or 3.5 to four restaurants per 10,000 people, tended to be in the Maritimes.

 

"We found that some of the highest rates of obesity and overweight (people) in Canada, according to Statistics Canada, were in Atlantic provinces -- cities like St. John's, with over 36 per cent of the population estimated to be obese," he said.

 

Cash cautions the study simply shows a correlation; it doesn't explain if the two things are connected. He says further study is needed to see whether the availability of restaurants actually causes more people to eat fast food, whether the restaurants purposely set up in places where people already tend to be heavier, or if there's another factor entirely at play.

 

"All we can say from our study is that looking across cities, there is a very strong relationship between where the fast-food restaurants are more densely located and those higher rates of obesity."

 

Ian Janssen, a population health professor, said that while the study seems to provide intuitive results, it's done on such a broad scale it needs to be interpreted with caution.

 

Research being done at his lab on an individual level is showing different results, and findings across other studies and countries have been mixed.

 

-- The Canadian Press

 

J'ai toujours été curieux de voir de vraies statistiques sur l'obésité, autres que fameux 36% d'Américains...

Montréal est plutôt dans le milieu de ces métropoles, mais parmi les 6 plus peuplées, seule Calgary est plus obèse. Tout ça malgré le fait qu'on ait le moins de fast-foods par habitant?

21,2 % est bien pire que j'imaginais, il me semble qu'on parlait de ~16% pour le Canada (il y a 2-3 ans).

 

 

 

 

Aussi, Only The Lonely fait remarquer quelque chose d'intéressant :

What I find fascinating is the difference in obesity between two cities in the same province.

 

Alberta

 

Calgary, 25.70%, 3.23

 

Edmonton, 20.10%, 3.14

 

 

Quebec

 

Montreal, 21.20%, 1.44

 

Quebec, 17.30%, 1.97

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