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New Guidelines to Address Growing Obesity Epidemic

The first-ever Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) has recommended that waist circumference be measured in all Canadian adults. // It also added that a national surveillance system be developed that incorporates this measurement along with height and weight.

This represents a landmark publication, as Canada is the first country in the world to produce comprehensive evidence-based guidelines to address the management and prevention of overweight and obesity in adults and children. These are also important guidelines for health professionals and policy-makers to help them address Canada's increasing prevalence rates.

The guidelines were developed by a panel of experts from across Canada, who identified a need for a comprehensive set of clinical guidelines to provide health care practitioners with a toolkit to manage and treat overweight and obese patients, as well as those who have a high waist circumference. Furthermore, the panel identified gaps in existing knowledge, and new research requirements needed to help develop a greater understanding of weight and body shape and their link to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

"As obesity has become a major health care concern in Canada, the experts agreed that this can no longer be regarded as a cosmetic or body image issue," says Dr. David Lau, President of Obesity Canada, Chair of the CPG Steering Committee and a professor medicine at the University of Calgary. "Furthermore, we've identified recommendations for treating this medical problem as a societal issue that requires support from all levels of the community, from health care teams to schools to all levels of government."

CMAJ Editor-in-Chief Dr. Paul Hébert notes that these guidelines not only give practical recommendations for health professionals, "…but also identify knowledge gaps between what is known and what is needed to identify, prevent and treat obesity and its consequence
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