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Healthy Weights

The Population & Public Health Program works with partners at PHSA and across the province to promote healthy weights.

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Overview

What is healthy weight?

A healthy weight is defined by a body composition that positively contributes to an individual’s overall health, well-being, and quality of life over their lifespan. Weight is one marker of health. A healthy weight is different for each individual.

Healthy weight, at all ages and stages of life, promotes and supports the physical, mental, and social health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Healthy weight reduces the risk and occurrence of and supports the management of weight-related diseases and health problems.

Obesity is strongly associated with many serious and costly chronic health conditions, but the relationships are complex.

There are long-established and well-documented links between obesity and various medical conditions, chronic diseases, and premature death. For example, obesity is associated with sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, asthma, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, chronic back pain, several types of cancers, cardiovascular diseases and depression. 

Obesity and other weight-related issues are shaped by social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental factors where we live, learn, work, and play. This means that our living and working conditions have a strong impact on our ability to achieve and maintain healthy weights. There are many influences in our current environment that tend to promote obesity in individuals and populations- e.g., food production, food marketing, opportunities for recreation and physical activity, and sedentary work and transportation.   

Commonly held beliefs about obesity can contribute to weight bias, stigma, bullying and discrimination.

Weight bias refers to negative attitudes, beliefs, assumptions and judgments toward individuals who are overweight and obese. Strong evidence shows that weight bias causes harm to mental health and well-being.  

Given that approximately half of Canadians are overweight or obese, it is important to work towards reducing weight bias and stigma to improve mental and physical health for all.  

Shifting from weight-focused to well-being-focused approaches in practice and policy has potential to improve population health.

Our 2013 discussion paper, Weight to well-being: Time for a shift in paradigms?, reviews the research about interrelationships among overweight, obesity, weight bias and mental well-being. This report identifies some key action areas for shifting focus towards well-being, including: promoting healthy child and youth development, decreasing weight stigma among health professionals, and creating healthy public policy through a whole-of-society approach.

PHSA Population and Public Health supports approaches that seek to address the complex problems associated with obesity in ways that protect and promote mental well-being as well as physical health. In addition, we believe that efforts to promote healthy weights and well-being should ensure that they do not inadvertently increase inequities in health or health behaviours.

Our activities

PHSA's Population and Public Health Program demonstrates provincial leadership in promoting healthy weights through collaborative action, with a secondary goal of creating an integrated healthy weights promotion strategy across all PHSA agencies and programs. Our approach recognizes the complex interrelationships among overweight, obesity, weight bias, and promoting physical and mental health and well-being.

Among other activities, we work with a variety of provincial stakeholders to promote healthy weights by:
  • Reviewing new and emerging research
  • Developing tools and resources 
  • Providing funding to enhance PHSA agency & program capacity to initiate and sustain health promotion and chronic disease and injury prevention activities 

Please refer to our other webpages for information and resources related to promoting healthy weights through food security and the built environment.

Reports & resources

Official PHSA-PPH reports produced for/by PPH:

Estimates the current and project future health-care costs and indirect productivity losses associated with each of three chronic disease risk factors: excess weight (obesity and overweight), physical inactivity and tobacco smoking.


Released: July 2015

 

A discussion paper that explores the interrelationships among obesity, overweight, weight bias and mental well-being. The review summarizes new and emerging research that may challenge traditional approaches to weight reduction.

Released: February 2013

 

This report was developed by the BC Obesity Reduction Strategy Task Force following broad consultation with a variety of stakeholders. By considering the best available evidence and expert opinion, cost effectiveness, and the range of options for the BC context, the report offers recommendations to address overweight and obesity in B.C.

Released: August 2010

 
Reports and resources supported by PPH funding:

Summary of recent research evidence on the injury consequences of promoting physical activity. Produced by the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit (BCIRPU), the available resources include a final report, executive summary, and fact sheets.  

Released: April 2013
 

Literature review to identify recent evidence on the association between obesity and bullying. The BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit (BCIRPU) conducted the review to understand whether people who are overweight or obese are more likely to experience injury as a result of bullying than people of healthy weight.

Released: April 2013
 
Reports & resources

Official PHSA-PPH reports produced for/by PPH:

Estimates the current and project future health-care costs and indirect productivity losses associated with each of three chronic disease risk factors: excess weight (obesity and overweight), physical inactivity and tobacco smoking.


Released: July 2015

 

A discussion paper that explores the interrelationships among obesity, overweight, weight bias and mental well-being. The review summarizes new and emerging research that may challenge traditional approaches to weight reduction.

Released: February 2013

 

This report was developed by the BC Obesity Reduction Strategy Task Force following broad consultation with a variety of stakeholders. By considering the best available evidence and expert opinion, cost effectiveness, and the range of options for the BC context, the report offers recommendations to address overweight and obesity in B.C.

Released: August 2010

 
Reports and resources supported by PPH funding:

Summary of recent research evidence on the injury consequences of promoting physical activity. Produced by the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit (BCIRPU), the available resources include a final report, executive summary, and fact sheets.  

Released: April 2013
 

Literature review to identify recent evidence on the association between obesity and bullying. The BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit (BCIRPU) conducted the review to understand whether people who are overweight or obese are more likely to experience injury as a result of bullying than people of healthy weight.

Released: April 2013
 

SOURCE: Healthy Weights ( )
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