Canada has a weight problem.
© Justin Crann
Crystal Wiebe, one of the early participants in the Healthy Weights Initiative (HWI), works out at the YMCA gym on 1st Avenue Northwest while her trainer from Alliance Wellness and Rehabilitation watches on. Wiebe said she enrolled in the program so she can play sports with her kids, rather than just watch them play.
In 2013, 62 per cent of Canadian men and 45.1 per cent of Canadian women aged 18 and older classified as either overweight or obese.
Among both sexes, roughly one in five is specifically classified as obese. Additionally, 20.7 per cent of youths are classified as carrying excess weight.
These figures — among the findings in the Canadian Community Health Survey for 2013 — are staggering, but are also far from new.
Many of the numbers have remained largely unchanged for years. The exception would be obesity rates among adult men, which increased almost 1.5 per cent over the previous year's findings.
While taking the survey as the final authority on this issue would be ill-advised — it is driven by self-reported data — that doesn't make it any less important.
Among self-reporting adults, the findings are overwhelmingly pointing toward a need among Canadians to start eating better and getting more active.
The facilities and support exist to help people on the journey to a healthier life.
That is especially the case in Moose Jaw, which launched the Healthy Weights Initiative (HWI) in January.
The HWI is a program that enrols individuals with Body Mass Indexes over 30.
With a referral from their doctor and a friend to join them in the program, those individuals can sign on for 72 personal training sessions, 12 cognitive behaviour therapy sessions, 12 dietary sessions, two fitness tests and additional social support at no cost.
The program was a direct response to Moose Jaw's own obesity issues, the Times-Herald was told when it was announced.
Now, almost half a year later, the first findings of HWI participants are coming to the surface and Moose Jaw can take pride in many of the results.
But the HWI has limitations. Not all Moose Javians can enrol, and there is a limit to how many participants it can handle at any given time.
Canada can't afford a weight crisis.
Unhealthy weights make people less productive and create more instances of serious health problems that eventually become a resource burden that must be shouldered by the entire tax base.
As such, it behooves every person to take their own health and wellbeing into their own hands.
All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.