MLHU - Health Status Resource

Healthy Weights

Healthy Weights

Key Findings: 

Obesity has been linked to the increased risk for various chronic diseases including (but not limited to): cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, several forms of cancer, and gallbladder disease.1 These diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases, make up a large proportion of mortality rates across Canada.1
Half of the adult population in Middlesex-London (50.0%) self-reported a weight and height corresponding with an overweight or obese BMI classification; this is lower in comparison to the provincial prevalence of 54%. This same trend is seen in the adolescent population (under the age of 18), where 19% self-reported a weight and height corresponding with an overweight or obese BMI classification in comparison to 24% across Ontario.

Body Mass Index-Adults Body Mass Index-Adolescents

Body Mass Index-Adults

In 2015/16, Middlesex-London had a lower percentage (50.0%) of overweight or obese adults in Ontario (50.0%) compared to both Ontario (53.6%) and the Peer Group (56.2%) (Figure 6.6.1).

Younger adults (aged 18−44) had the lowest percentage of being overweight or obese (39.8%) in comparison to older adults 45 years or older (Figure 6.6.2).

In Middlesex-London, percentages of overweight and obesity increased as household income level increased; the highest quintile of household income showing the highest percentage of overweight and obesity (51.7%).

No significant differences were seen in Middlesex-London by urban/rural, education, or employment status.


Middlesex-London had a higher percentage of adults who met physical activity guidelines (62.4%) when compared to Ontario and the Peer Group (57.6% and 58.6%, respectively). It also had one of the highest rates of individuals who eat 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables per day (31%) compared to 27.1% in Ontario and 27% in the Peer Group.

This highlights the relationship between physical activity, healthy eating habits, and rates of overweight and obesity in Middlesex-London.

This aligns with research suggesting that obesity increases with age due to the less mobility and activity, often leading to other chronic illnesses.2 In Middlesex-London, the older adults (45 and over) also reported higher rates of reduced physical activity and chronic disease.

Body Mass Index-Adolescents

Similar to the proportion of adults who are overweight or obese in Middlesex-London (Figure 6.6.1), the proportion of the youth population who self-reported a weight and height corresponding with an overweight or obese BMI classification was lower (19.3%) than that seen across Ontario and the Peer Group (Figure 6.6.3).


Obesity is complex and influenced by many things. Although things like genetics and behaviours such as physical activity and diet are important factors, socio-economic conditions play an important role. For example, the economic status within the home is often associated with a higher rate of children eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day.3

There is substantial stigma associated with obesity. Children and adolescents who are overweight or obese not only have increased risk of chronic diseases, but they also have an increased risk for discrimination and lower self-esteem.4 This can increase the likelihood of remaining overweight or obese into adulthood.4

How this Indicator was Calculated: 
Ontario Public Health Standard: 

Ontario Public Health Standards: Requirements for Programs, Services, and Accountability−Chronic Disease Prevention and Well-Being (page 28)

Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol, 2018


1. Public Health Agency of Canada in collaboration with the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Obesity in Canada [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2019 Sep 27]. Available from:

2. Kalyani, R.R., Corriere, M., & Ferucci, L. Age-related and disease-related muscle loss: The effect of diabetes, obesity, and other diseases. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2014: 2(10); 819-829.

3. Conference Board of Canada. Research Report: Programs, policies and promotional strategies for produce consumption in Canada. Prepared for The Canadian Produce Marketing Association. May 2013.

4. Tracking of obesity and physical activity from childhood to adulthood: The physical activity longitudinal study. International journal of pediatric obesity [Internet]. 2009 [cited 2019 Sep 27]; 4(4): 281-8. Available from:

5. Government of Canada. Canadian guidelines for body weight classification in adults [Internet]. 2003 [cited 2019 Sep 26]. Available from:

Last modified on: November 19, 2019

Jargon Explained

Body mass index (BMI)
Used to identify health risks, such as chronic conditions, associated with the body weight of individuals.5 The BMI classification is determined using an individual’s self-reported height and weight. BMI is calculated with the following equation