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Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat that is based on height and weight.1 BMI scores classify individuals into categories such as underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese class I, II, or III. BMI categories are associated with health. Individuals who are underweight or overweight are at increased risk of developing health problems. Individuals in the obese class I category are at high risk of developing health problems, individuals in obese class II are at very high risk, and individuals in obese class III are at extremely high risk.2 

The percentage of individuals within BMI categories for the Windsor-Essex region are presented below. All obesity classes (I, II, and III) were combined into one obese category for this report.

Table 1: Percentage of Individuals in Each BMI Category, Adults Aged 18 and Older, 2007-2012
  % 95% CI
Underweight 2.7 E 1.9-3.8
Normal 38.8 36.3-41.3
Overweight 37.9 35.7-40.2
Obese 20.6 18.5-22.8

E Interpret with caution die to high sampling variability. 

Results indicate that 58.5% of Windsor-Essex County residents are overweight or obese.

Table 2: Percentage of Adult Individuals Aged 18 and Older in Each BMI Category by Year
  2007
% (95% CI)
2008
% (95% CI)
2009
% (95% CI)
2010
% (95% CI)
2011
% (95% CI)
2012
% (95% CI)
Underweight NR NR NR NR 2.8
(1.6- 5.0)
NR
Normal  39.3
(34.3-44.6)
41.5
(36.6-46.6)
37.4
(32.8-47.1)
34.4
(28.4-40.8)
38.3
(31.8-45.2)
41.8
(34.2-49.8)
Overweight  37.6
(32.5-43.1)
34.0
(28.7-39.8)
42.0
(37.1-47.1)
42.9
(37.5-48.5)
35.6
(29.8-42.0)
35.3
(28.5-42.9)
Obese 20.5
(16.9-24.7)
21.7
(17.5-26.5)
18.6
(14.6-23.5)
19.7
(15.3-24.9)
23.2
(17.8-29.7)
19.9
(14.4-26.9)
Overweight and obese combined 58.2
(52.9-63.2)
55.7
(50.8-60.5)
60.6
(55.9-65.2)
62.6
(56.3-68.4)
58.9
(52.0-65.4)
55.3
(47.2-63.0)

NR= Not reportable due to high sampling variability.

The percentage of individuals who are overweight or obese has not significantly changed from 2007 to 2012.

Table 3: Percentage of Adult Individuals who are Overweight or Obese by Age and Sex, 2007-2012
  Male 
Percent (95% CI)
Female
Percent (95% CI)
Both Sexes
Percent (95% CI)
Age 20 to 44
  Overweight
  Obese
  Combination
43.8 (37.7-50.1)
18.0 (14.2-22.6)
61.8 (55.1-68.1)
21.1 (16.9-25.9)
18.8 (14.5-24.0)
39.9 (34.5-45.5)
33.0 (29.0-37.3)
18.4 (15.2-22.0)
51.3 (46.6-56.0)
Age 45 to 64
  Overweight
  Obese
  Combination
54.2 (47.6-60.5)
24.4 (19.9-29.4)
78.5 (73.5-82.8)
32.4 (26.9-38.6)
24.0 (18.9-30.1)
56.5 (50.2-62.6)
43.5 (39.3-47.9)
24.2 (20.7-28.1)
67.7 (63.7-71.5)
Age 65 and over
  Overweight
  Obese
  Combination
49.2 (42.3-56.1)
21.1 (16.2-26.9)
70.2 (62.6-76.9)
37.3 (30.5-44.7)
21.3 (16.9-26.5)
58.7 (52.0-65.0)
42.7 (38.2-47.4)
21.2 (17.8-25.0)
63.9 (58.9-68.6)
All Ages (18+)
  Overweight
  Obese
  Combination
47.7 (44.2-51.3)
20.6 (18.1-23.4)
68.3 (64.8-71.6)
27.9 (25.0-31.0)
20.6 (17.7-23.8)
48.5 (44.8-52.1)
 

Note: Combination= overweight and obese.

When differences are examined by age, the 20 to 44 age group has a significantly lower percentage of individuals who are overweight in comparison to the other two age groups. When overweight and obesity are examined by sex, men are significantly more likely to be overweight. When differences are explored by age and sex, males in the 20 to 44 and the 45 to 64 age groups are significantly more likely than females in the same age groups to be overweight.​

Table 4: Percentage of Adults in Each BMI Category by Income Quintile, 2007-2012
  Quintile 1 
Lowest Income
% (95% CI)
Quintile 2 
% (95% CI)
Quintile 3
% (95% CI)
Quintile 4
% (95% CI)
Quintile 5
Highest Income
(95% CI)
Underweight 4.1
(2.4-6.9)
NR NR NR NR
Normal 39.8
(34.1-45.8)
36.2
(31.0-41.7)
42.9
(38.1-47.8)
38.6
(32.7-44.9)
36.5
(31.8-41.4)
Overweight 33.9
(27.7-40.7)
37.4
(31.5-43.8)
38.0
(33.0-43.4)
36.2
(30.6-42.1)
43.9
(38.8-49.1)
Obese  22.2
(16.4-29.4)
21.1
(16.9-25.9)
18.1
(14.5-22.4)
22.8
(17.6-29.0)
18.8
(15.5-22.7)
Overweight an obese combined 56.1
(50.2-61.9) 
58.5
(52.3-64.4) 
56.1
(51.2-60.9)
59.0
(52.5-65.1)
62.8
(57.8-67.4)

NR = Not reportable due to high sampling variability.

There are no significant differences in the percentage of individuals who are overweight or obese by income category.

Table 5: Percentage of Adults in Each BMI Category by Education Level
  Less than Secondary School
% (95% CI)
Secondary School Graduate
% (95% CI)
Some Post-Secondary
 % (95% CI)
Post-Secondary Graduate
% (95% CI)
Underweight NR NR NR 2.1
(1.4-3.3)
Normal 30.3
(25.0-36.2)
34.4
(29.1-40.1)
45.1
(35.5-55.0)
41.2
(38.0-44.4)
Overweight 42.0
(34.3-50.1)
39.3
(33.9-45.0)
35.7
(27.0-45.3)
36.4
(33.6-39.3)
Obese 25.6
(20.3-31.6)
22.2
(17.5-27.7) 
14.4 E
(9.1-22.0)
20.3
(17.6-23.4)
Overweight and obese combined 67.6
(61.6-73.0)
61.5
(55.3-67.3) 
50.0
(40.9-59.2)
56.7
(53.5-59.9)

NR = Not reportable due to high sampling variability.
E Interpret with caution due to high sampling variability.

Those with the lowest education are more likely to be overweight or obese. The percentage of overweight or obese individuals in the Less than Secondary School category is significantly higher when compared to the percentage of individuals who are overweight or obese in the Some Post-Secondary and the Post-Secondary educational groups.

Table 6: Percentage of Adults in Each BMI Category by Minority Status
  White
% (95% CI)
Minority
% (95% CI)
Underweight 2.1 E
(1.5-3.0)
NR
Normal 37.7
(35.1-40.3)
46.0
(38.8-53.4)
Overweight 38.0
(35.6-40.5)
36.3
(28.5-44.9)
Obese 22.2
(19.9-24.7)
10.6 E
(7.0-15.7)
Overweight and obese combined 60.2
(57.6-62.7)
46.9
(39.2-54.7)

NR = Not reportable due to high sampling variability.
E Interpret with caution due to high sampling variability.

Individuals with a white ethnic background are significantly more likely to be obese.

Table 7: Percentage of Adults in Each BMI Category by Immigration Status
  Born in Canada Immigrant
Underweight 2.3 E NR
Normal 39.4
(36.4-42.4)
36.4
(31.1-42.0)
Overweight 36.9
(34.3-39.6)
40.3
(34.5-46.3)
Obese 21.4
(18.9-24.2)
19.4
(15.0-24.6)
Overweight and obese combined 58.3
(55.4-61.2)
59.7
(53.8-65.2)

NR = Not reportable due to high sampling variability.
E Interpret with caution due to high sampling variability.

There is no difference in overweight and obesity when compared by immigration status.

Table 8: Percentage of Adults in Each BMI Category by Rural or Population Centre Residence
  Rural
% (95% CI)
Population Centre 
% (95% CI)
Underweight NR NR
Normal 38.4
(33.5-43.6)
38.84
(36.1-41.7)
Overweight 40.05
(35.1-45.2)
37.6
(35.0-40.2)
Obese 20.33
(16.8-24.4)
20.7
(18.3-23.2)
Overweight and obese combined 60.4
(55.2-65.3)
58.2
(55.4-61.0)

NR = Not reportable due to high sampling variability.

There is no difference in BMI when comparing rural and population centre residents.

Data Notes

  1. Data Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, [2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012], Share File, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
  2. The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) collects data through participant self-report. Data collected through self-report can be biased due to inaccurate memory or because of social desirability. Social desirability happens when individuals answer questions in a manner that they think will be viewed favourably, and is more likely to occur when individuals are answering sensitive questions.
  3. 95% CI = 95% confidence interval. The 95% confidence interval provides a range within which we are 95% confident that the true population proportion (%) falls. If a stated result percentage is 18% with a 95% CI of 15.0-21.0%, we can be 95% confident that the true percentage lies within the range of 15.0% to 21.0%. The wider the confidence interval, the more variability there is, and the less precise the estimate.
  4. Data is for the Windsor-Essex County population aged 18 and over.
  5. Not Stated and Don’t Know responses were excluded from analysis.
  6. Significant differences were determined based on non-overlapping confidence intervals.
  7. Due to rounding combined overweight and obese percentages may very slightly from the percent obtained if summing the obese and overweight categories.
  8. Obese = Individuals in Obese Class I, II, or III.
  9. Health Canada notes that “For persons 65 years and older the 'normal' range may begin slightly above BMI 18.5 and extend into the 'overweight' range” (Health Canada, 2012).
  10. Understanding income quintiles used in this report: The Canadian Community Health Survey contains a variable that groups Windsor-Essex survey respondents into one of 10 income deciles. Each decile contains 10% of the sample population. So that the lowest or first decile contains the 10% of the population that has the lowest household income, and the highest or 10th decile contains the 10% of the sample population that has the highest household income. The calculation takes into account reported household income, low-income cut-off values, household size, and community size. For the purposes of this report, deciles were used to create quintiles for ease of analysis and interpretation (quintiles are fifths, and so each quintile contains 20% of the sample population). The lowest two deciles were combined to make the lowest quintile, the third and fourth deciles were combined to create the second lowest quintile, and so forth, with the two highest income deciles being combined to make the highest income quintile.
  11. Non-Minority was defined as an individual who reported that their ethnicity was white. All other ethnicities were coded as minority.
  12. Ethnicity can have an impact on how BMI is interpreted for some groups. Health Canada has this to say: “The updated weight classification system is recommended for use with all Canadian adults (except for pregnant and lactating women). However, data used to support the classification system were derived predominantly from studies in Caucasian populations. There is evidence that certain ethnic or racial groups may differ from Caucasians in their levels of total body fat at a given BMI, in their fat distribution patterns, and in their degree of health risk. Differences may be influenced in part, by differences in body build or body proportions. For some groups such as Chinese and people from South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka), the health risks may be greater than for Caucasians at the same BMI. For others, such as Black populations, health risks may be lower. For First Nations, Inuit and other Canadian Aboriginal populations, research is required to determine if the association between weight and health risk differs from that in Caucasians.” 3
  13. Immigrant was defined as someone who had ever immigrated to Canada.
  14. A population centre is defined by Statistics Canada as an “area with a population of at least 1,000 and no fewer than 400 persons per square kilometre. The term 'population centre' (POPCTR) replaces the term 'urban area' (UA). Population centres are classified into three groups, depending on the size of their population.” 4
  15. The geographical area of Windsor-Essex County represents the population of the entire county of Essex and includes all municipalities within the county.
  16. Age standardized statistics available upon request.

References