As Saskatchewan’s collective waistline increases, so too could provincial health care costs.
According to a recent Canadian Community Health Survey, 45.9 per cent of Saskatchewan adults are obese — an increase of more than 30 per cent.
“It’s a trend that we have been seeing over the last 10 years or so, and at this point it doesn’t seem to be moving in the right direction,” said Dr. Saqib Shahab, the chief medical health officer for the province.
The Canadian average for obese adults is 26 per cent.
Shahab said while there has been more awareness about healthy eating and increasing physical activity, it’s not necessarily changing outcomes.
“That’s not translating into an increase in normal body weight, and I think that would continue to be a concern,” he said.
Shahab noted there are many different factors when dealing with someone’s health — including environment, increased screen time, alcohol consumption and smoking — so it’s tough to comment on the degree to which obesity impacts healthcare costs.
He said there are additional costs associated with treating obesity-related illnesses and diseases, pointing to people needing regular checkups and then hospitalization due to issues such as heart disease and joint-conditions.
Shahab said Saskatchewan isn’t planning on doing a study to find out the exact costs, but noted other provinces have researched it before.