7.7.8 Percentage of youth aged 12 to 17 years who are overweight or obese, by Indigenous identity, Canada, 2011/2014

First Nations Métis Inuit Non-Indigenous
Indigenous Identity 27.9 25.5 25.1 21.2

Note: The term “First Nations” refers to the First Nations population living off reserve.

Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from Statistics Canada. Table 105-0512 – Health indicator profile, by Aboriginal identity, age group and sex, four year estimates, Canada, provinces and territories, occasional (rate).

More than one-quarter of Indigenous youth aged 12 to 17 years were overweight or obese in 2011/2014.

Obesity is more prevalent among First Nations youth than other Indigenous youth, with 28% of First Nations youth reporting being overweight or obese in 2011/2014, compared to 26% of Métis and 25% of Inuit youth.

Among non-Indigenous youth aged 12 to 17 years, 21% reported being overweight or obese.

While there are few comparisons with non-Indigenous children, it is generally acknowledged that Indigenous children have consistently higher rates of being overweight and obese than their non-Indigenous counterparts. This places them at increased risk of obesity-related diseases like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.1 A number of factors are associated with obesity in Indigenous children, including characteristics of the mother, physical inactivity, poor diet and body fat.2 Since children who are obese are more likely to be obese in adulthood, the health risks of obesity are great, suggesting the need for targeted health promotion programs to prevent childhood obesity in Indigenous communities.

1National Aboriginal Health Organization. (2012). Aboriginal children and obesity. Ottawa, ON: Author. Retrieved October 11, 2017 from http://www.naho.ca/documents/naho/english/factSheets/2012_05_childhood_obesity.pdf
2Willows, N.D. (2005). Overweight in First Nations children: Prevalence, implications, and solutions. Journal of Aboriginal Health, 2(1), 76-87.