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In Battle of the Bulge, Canada Trumps U.S.
Date:3/2/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 2 -- (HealthDay News) -- When it comes to land mass, Canada may claim bragging rights. But when it comes to the average girth of its citizens, Americans are typically bigger than their neighbors to the north, a new study of adult obesity rates in both countries shows.

The bottom-line: A little more than a third of all Americans are now obese, beating out Canada by about 10 percentage points.

The report was a joint effort from Statistics Canada and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions National Center for Health Statistics.

"We had two great data sets that were really very comparable," noted study co-author and NCHS epidemiologist Cynthia L. Ogden. "And what we see is that while obesity has increased in both countries, we have a higher prevalence in the U.S."

Ogden and her colleagues report their findings in the NCHS's March Data Brief.

The study found that while Canada's obesity rate is hovering at about 24 percent, that rate in the United States exceeds 34 percent.

In the United States, the authors relied on information contained in National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, conducted between 1988 and 1994 and then again between 2007 and 2008.

In Canada, the team crunched numbers gathered by the Canadian Heart Health Survey between 1986 and 1992, as well as the Canadian Health Measures Survey, conducted between 2007 and 2009.

None of the data involved children, but focused instead on adults between the ages of 20 and the mid-to-late 70's (depending on the particular survey).

The most recent numbers on obesity show American men maintaining an eight-point lead over their Canadian counterparts (nearly 33 percent vs. about 24 percent). U.S. women, meanwhile, were 12 percentage points higher in terms of obesity than Canadian women (approximately 36 percent vs. nearly 24 percent).

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