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Overweight and obesity data for children under 12 in Windsor-Essex is limited.  The Canadian Community Health Survey (Statistics Canada), the survey that provides local Body Mass Index (BMI) data for those aged 12 and over does not normally survey children under age 12.

One source of local data on BMI that includes children is a study conducted by Dr. S. Woodruff and Dr. K. Fryer (2011) of the University of Windsor in partnership with Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association (BANA), In Motion, and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.1 In this study BMI was calculated from actual height and weight measurements of Windsor-Essex grade 7 students (as well as some grade 6 and 8 students due to split classrooms). Participant ages ranged from 10 to 14 with 94% of the total study sample being aged 12 or 13. Results of this study revealed the following about BMI:

BMI using World Health Organization (WHO) classification, Windsor-Essex Children Aged 12-13.

Males (n = 508)

Underweight – 1%

Normal weight – 55%

Overweight – 22%

Obese – 22%

Females (n = 479)

Underweight – 1%

Normal Weight – 59%

Overweight – 22%

Obese – 18%

Both Males and Females (N = 987)

Underweight – 1%

Normal Weight – 57%

Overweight – 22%

Obese – 20%

Data for youth aged 12 to 17 is available for Windsor-Essex County through the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). From 2003-2012 the CCHS revealed the following statistics on combined overweight and obesity for Windsor-Essex and Ontario youth:

BMI, Windsor-Essex and Ontario Children and Youth, Overweight or Obesity Rate, Aged 12-17, 2003-2012

 

2003

% (95% CI)

2005

% (95% CI)

2007/2008

% (95% CI)

2009/2010

% (95% CI)

2011/2012

% (95% CI)

Windsor

34.3

(24.1-44.5)

21.0

(13.2-28.9)

21.3

(12.5-30.0)

40.2

(26.8-53.6)

17.4

(6.1-28.7)

Ontario

23.4

(21.6-25.2)

24.2

(22.4-26.1)

23.8

(21.7-25.8)

24.0

(22.0-26.1)

24.0

(21.7-26.3)

Note. Rates are for males and females combined. Due to small sample sizes separate rates for overweight and obesity could not be calculated for all years, thus combined overweight and obesity values are presented here.  Rates obtained from: Public Health Ontario, Data Snapshots, self-reported youth combined overweight and obese rate (data obtained from the Canadian Community Health Survey), retrieved Dec. 8, 2014.

Based on the data presented above, while Windsor-Essex rates appear to fluctuate over the years, it can not be stated that these rates changed across any years. This is because the 95% confidence intervals for each yearly rate overlap with the rates for the other years. When this overlap occurs, rates can not be said to be significantly different.  The large 95% confidence intervals that appear with the BMI rates for this age group occur because of the small sample size for this age group in Windsor-Essex.

Results also revealed that rates were not significantly different for Ontario from 2003 to 2011/2012 for this age group. Again, this is determined because the 95% confidence intervals, while much smaller for Ontario due to the larger sample size, still overlap across the years.

Differences in rates between Windsor-Essex and Ontario can only be found in 2009/2010. In 2011/2012 significant differences were no longer observed. This difference in rates in 2009/2010 may reflect real differences in BMI for Windsor-Essex youth in comparison to Ontario youth in those years, or it may indicate a chance variation in Windsor-Essex data in 2009/2010. Given the rates for the surrounding years for Windsor-Essex, this second possibility appears to be most likely.

Canadian Data

In light of the lack of availability of local data on BMI for younger children individuals may want to turn to provincial and national estimates.  High quality data on child BMI is available at the national level from the Canadian Health Measures Study2.

Overweight and Obesity in Canadian Children Aged 5-11 Using WHO BMI for age cut-offs (CHMS, 2009-2011).

Males aged 5-11

Underweight – not reportable

Normal weight – 59.0%

Overweight - 19.8%

Obese - 19.5%

Females aged 5-11

Underweight – 1.5%

Normal weight – 72.6%

Overweight - 19.6%

Obese - 6.3%

Both Males and Females aged 5-11

Underweight – not reportable

Normal weight – 65.5%

Overweight - 19.7%

Obese – 13.1%

References:

1. Woodruff, S. & Fryer, K. (2011). Health and well-being: A baseline study of health-related behaviours in Windsor-Essex County. Final Report. http://www.bana.ca/wp-content/uploads/HealthandWellbeingStudy.pdf

2. Statistics Canada (2012). Overweight and obesity in children and adolescents: Results from 2009 to 2011 Canadian Health Measures Survey.  http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2012003/article/11706-eng.pdf