Obesity Rates : A Major Concern When Considering The Health Of Canadians

Obesity Rates : A Major Concern When Considering The Health Of Canadians

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Obesity rates are significantly increasing in Canada and are a major concern when considering the health of Canadians. Throughout the Society, Individual, and Medicine (SIM) lectures, we learned that a quarter of the Canadian adult population is obese (Imbeault, 2016). Dr. Imbeault (2016) emphasized that when obesity rates from 1981 and 2009 were compared, obesity doubled in most age groups regardless of gender, even in young children. These were shocking numbers and made me realize how important it is for physicians to advocate for healthy nutrition and physical activity. This final statistic that Dr. Imbeault mentioned made me realize that change is not an option anymore, but a requirement to maintain quality of life for future generations. He (2016) said 63% of obese children continued to be obese in adulthood. If effective interventions are not put in place, obesity can potentially prematurely take the lives of many young Canadians. Therefore, introducing a sugar tax (on sugar sweetened beverages (SSB)) would create a financial barrier that would deter price conscious consumers from the indulgence of such products, which would consequently be a good stepping stone to curbing this obesity epidemic, and ameliorating the health of individuals across Canada. By understanding the strong association between the consumption of beverages with added sugar and obesity, the current unhealthy food environment disparity, and its indirect link to severe and chronic diseases, it will become evident that introducing a sugar tax in Canada will be beneficial in decreasing the obesity rates and improving the health of Canadians.
Firstly, due to the strong relationship between high obesity rates and SSBs, introducing a sugar tax will help to d...


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... environment and the indirect association of SSBs with chronic and severe diseases, it is clear that a sugar tax would aide in not only decreasing obesity rates but also improving health. Many argue that sugar taxes will not decrease obesity because there are multiple causes of obesity. However, as physicians, in our many roles, we can help to build a multi-sectoral approach to help decrease rates and I believe sugar taxes would be a good stepping stone. As a future physician, I play an important role in my patients’ health, and need to make sure that in addition to the implementation of the sugar tax, I involve a multidisciplinary team, educate my patients, and also encourage physical activity. Overall, the sugar tax and its multiple benefits should be strongly considered by the Canadian government to help decrease obesity rates and improve the health of Canadians.

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