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

y related to what contributes to obesity, there are a lot of factors that affect both countries," she noted. "Over time, we have had a change in the type of diet we consume, as we eat out more frequently, our portion sizes are bigger and we're not as physically active."

"But for this, we did not look at dietary content, sedentary levels, or the many other things that can influence obesity rates," Ogden said. "That would, of course, be very interesting to look into with further research."

A sophisticated follow-up analysis within each population group is exactly what needs to happen next, agreed Alice H. Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Lab and a professor of nutrition at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University in Boston.

"There could, of course, be a whole host of similar trends or perhaps some real differences in the way the two countries break down" in everything from urban and rural lifestyles and socioeconomic levels to physical activity and occupations, said Lichtenstein, who is also the former chair of the American Heart Association's nutrition committee.

"I also would personally be very interested in looking at food availability issues," she added. "How easy is it to, say, jump in a car and get a McDonald's hamburger at 11 at night in very rural Canada? What would the availability of 24/7 stores be where one get a bag of chips and a bottle of soda whenever one wants, as I know I can where I live. These are the sorts of questions that now need to be asked."

More information

For more on obesity, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Cynthia L. Ogden, Ph.D., epidemiologist, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Alice H. Lichtenstein, D.Sc., director, Cardiovascular Nutrition Lab, Gershoff Professor o
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