Canadians who are living with severe obesity struggle with financial and emotional burdens related to their condition, a recent national survey suggests. The Canadian Obesity Network survey was conducted by Leger Marketing in early 2010 through an online panel of 524 Canadians with a body mass index of 35 or more.
The survey indicated that nearly 75 per cent of those surveyed have tried to lose weight for over 11 years. Almost half of those say that their weight has affected relationships with friends, family, or their spouse/partner. Fifty-five per cent have low self-esteem and more than one-third withdraw from social situations.
Nevertheless, respondents indicated that they are motivated to lose weight: 84 per cent say that the main driving reason is to improve their health. Other motivations mentioned include improving self-esteem (51 per cent), improving emotional/mental health (38 per cent), and inspiration from family members.
However success in losing weight is minimal and can be quite costly. Some have spent more than $700 to $900 per year on gym memberships or commercial weight loss programs.
One recommendation by the scientific director of the Canadian Obesity Network, Dr. Arya M. Sharma, is for obesity management to include clear guidance on how to find help. Physicians and the internet are the most commonly cited sources of information for weight loss. Half of respondents indicate that support for managing emotional eating is important. Other helpful actions include setting realistic goals, learning to make healthier choices, joining a physical activity program and better access to a support system.
Ninety-two per cent of respondents have not sought a psychologist or counselor to help lose weight, but 62 per cent say that it could help.
See “Impact of Severe Obesity Felt Far Beyond Physical – Financial Burden and Emotional Implications Also Significant” atwww.obesitynetwork.ca.