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Article: City dwellers less likely to be obese


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RASHA MOURTADA

Globe and Mail Update

Adults who live in large Canadian cities are far less likely to be obese than those who live outside of metropolitan areas, according to a report released today by Statistics Canada.

The report, based on actual measurements of height and weight from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey, concluded that 20 per cent of Canadians living in metropolitan areas were obese, compared with 29 per cent of those who lived in rural areas.

As the size of the city increased, the likelihood of being obese fell. In Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, cities with populations of over two million, only 17 per cent of adults were obese. In comparison, in cities with populations between 100,000 and two million, 24 per cent were obese, and in cities with populations between 10,000 and 100,000, 30 per cent were obese.

These conclusions came as no surprise to Guy Faulkner, an assistant professor of behavioural medicine in the faculty of physical education and health at the University of Toronto. ??Elements of the environment have an influence on physical activity behaviour,? he said, explaining that people who live in cities are more likely to walk as part of their daily routine, whereas those in rural areas may not be able to commute on foot as comfortably. ??When you add that walking up every day of the year it's a significant contribution to energy expenditure,? he said.

But Margot Shields, author of the study, said that while researchers know that there's a clear link between physical activity and obesity, it's too soon for them to comment on how significant a factor that is in regard to the results of this study. ??We're just starting to look at the why of this,? she said.

The report also indicated that among Canadians who did not live in urban centres, those who commuted to a large city or even to a smaller urban centre were less likely to be obese. And in cities where a high or fairly high proportion of the population commuted to a nearby urban centre, obesity rates were comparable with the national average. In those where few commuted to work in an urban centre, the obesity rate came in at 44 per cent, nearly twice the national average.

The relationship between obesity and location in adults was not mirrored in children. Nationally, the proportion of two- to 17-year-olds who were overweight or obese was comparable in large cities and rural areas.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/ RTGAM.20060822.wobesity0822/BNStory/National/ ?cid=al_gam_nletter_newsUp

Ummm, does it break copyright if you post the source?
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