Alberta is hoping to reduce obesity in the province by increasing access to surgery, funding school programs for children and offering community programs for obese adults. Obesity is the most pervasive, progressive and serious of chronic diseases facing the province, says Alberta Health. The province estimates one million Albertans are obese and another one million overweight. The disease is linked to 22 other chronic diseases, including up to 90 per cent of all Type 2 diabetes, up to 30 per cent of cancers, and 80 per cent of cardiovascular disease. We asked Shelley Rimes, owner of Inches Away in Airdrie what she's seeing with her clients.
The five-year, $15.8 million Alberta Health Services Obesity Initiative will allow 1,500 more patients to access bariatric surgery over the next few years, reducing the capacity of the stomach so less food is eaten. The effort will also fund school-based programs designed to address the rising rates of obesity among children. The province estimates obesity costs more than $1.4 billion annually in terms of reduced quality of life, loss of workforce productivity and cost to the health care system.