Send to

Choose Destination
Soc Work Public Health. 2018;33(6):329-341. doi: 10.1080/19371918.2018.1482252. Epub 2018 Jun 13.

Reducing the prevalence of obesity in Canada: a call to action.

Author information

a Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, Toronto, Canada.


With rates of obesity among adults and youth rising in Canada, it is clear that the current approaches currently used to reduce the prevalence of obesity, with an emphasis on individual weight management interventions focused on restrictive dieting, are not proving successful at a population level. Given that obesity is associated with poor physical and mental health outcomes, is placing a multi-billion-dollar economic burden on Canada and disproportionately affects disadvantaged groups, such as Aboriginal Canadians and women of low socioeconomic status, it is a health and social issue that must be addressed immediately by social workers and policy makers. This article discusses the benefits of implementing a multifaceted population-level intervention that is health centered, evidence based, antistigmatizing to obese individuals, and accessible to all Canadians. The proposed intervention includes increased education for primary care physicians, the development of walkable neighborhoods, taxation of junk food, financial incentives, clear nutrition labelling, public awareness campaigns, regulation of food advertising (especially targeted to children), and school-based health promotion initiatives. This article also discusses the unique role that social workers must play in leading the charge against the stigmatization of obese individuals, while also championing policies to effectively reduce the prevalence of obesity in Canada.


Canada; Interventions; Obesity; Policy Reforms

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center