Background/ Why Is This Important?
The past 30 years have seen rates of overweight and obesity climbing in affluent countries around the world. More than half the Canadian population – and 30 per cent of children nationally – are overweight or obese. In British Columbia, more than 26 per cent of youth aged 12-17 are overweight or obese, and at least 80 per cent of this group will become obese adults.
Overweight and obese children are vulnerable to chronic diseases and conditions historically seen only in adults, such as type 2 diabetes. Emerging evidence also indicates that an unhealthy weight increases the risks to an individual's overall health and mental well-being.
In British Columbia, there are currently multiple efforts to create supportive environments that increase access to physical activity and healthy eating where children live, learn and play. There is also a need to address impacts on health related to overweight and obesity in children and youth.
What Actions Have Already Been Taken?
Child Health BC worked with the Ministry of Health and the Canadian Obesity Foundation to develop British Columbia's Continuum for the Prevention, Management, and Treatment of Health Issues Related to Overweight and Obesity in Children and Youth.
The Continuum is a framework that describes a comprehensive approach to promoting and supporting healthy weights for all children and youth in British Columbia across six elements: Population Health, Prevention, Identification, Early Intervention, Management and Specialized Treatment.
The Continuum provides a common language for all health professionals and other partners to facilitate productive dialogue and partnership. It enables partners to understand how the work they are doing aligns with others’ work and contributes to the overall goal of promoting healthy weights and reducing overweight and obesity in children and youth.
Where Are We Now?
The Continuum provides a framework that supports the coordination and integration of current efforts, and encourages conversation around considerations and directions for future growth.