The prevalence of overweight and obesity in British Columbian Aboriginal adults


Dr D Warburton, Cardiovascular Physiology and Rehabilitation Laboratory, University of British Columbia, 6108 Thunderbird Boulevard, Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z3. E-mail:


Overweight and obesity among Aboriginal populations has been a growing challenge within Canada. This investigation aimed to identify the prevalence of overweight and obesity within British Columbian adult Aboriginal populations including both on and off reserve individuals through direct measurement. Further, this study stratified the variations in these rates according to age, gender and geographic region. Weight, height and waist circumference (WC) were measured via standardized procedures, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. The mean body composition indicators were above recommended for men (BMI = 30.3 ± 5.6 kg m−2; WC = 104.2 ± 14.7 cm) and women (BMI = 30.9 ±  7.2 kg m−2; WC = 99.3 ± 17.1 cm), respectively. Rates of obesity for men and women were similar, 48.4% and 48.7%, respectively, and showed significant increases with age. Abdominal obesity (AO) was significantly greater among female participants, 69.0% compared with 52.7% in men, while both genders also demonstrated significant increases in AO with age. Both obesity and AO rates were found to be significantly greater in the Northern and Interior regions of the province in comparison to the Vancouver/Lower Mainland region. Alarmingly high rates of obesity and AO were observed in this population in men and women at every age and geographic region.