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Are Canada’s Obesity Problems Arising from Mental Health Problems?

Canadian epidemiologists are still looking for a cure to the nation’s obesity problems. According to some medical professionals, the country is not resolving the crisis because it is ignoring one of its key driving factors: mental health problems.

Depression, anxiety and thought disorders are more prevalent than they were in prior years. Doctors have found a strong correlation between weight gain and mental health problems. They are willing to acknowledge that not all obese citizens suffer from mental health problems. However, they do argue that addressing these mental health concerns could be one of the most important ways to reduce the prevalence of obesity throughout the country.

obesity rates in canada map

Most medical professionals are telling their citizens to reduce the amount of food they consume and become more active. While that is clearly essential advice to anyone suffering with a weight problem, not everyone is able to adopt it. People suffering from depression and other mental health problems are less likely to find the motivation to follow disciplined exercise and diet programs. These conditions also reduce metabolism, which is another factor that can lead to weight loss.

In addition, recent studies have shown a link between obesity and insomnia. If obese people have difficulty sleeping at night, then they are also more likely to be drained of energy the following day. This clearly makes it more difficult for them to stay active enough to lose weight.

[box type=”important”]Many of the efforts used to treat these problems often leads to obesity as well. Many SSRIs, anti-psychotics and anti-anxiety medications list weight gain as a common side effect. This creates a clear dilemma for overweight, mentally ill citizens.[/box]

According to Valerie Taylor, a Toronto based psychiatrist, Canadian health professionals have not done anything to address these concerns. Taylor said that mental health problems are one of the most important issues that needs to be addressed in efforts to resolve the obesity epidemic in Canada.

Although there is a clear correlation between obesity and mental health problems, it is difficult to quantify the exact impact mental health plays. The problem is that both conditions play into each other, so health experts can’t always determine which is the root cause of the problem.

Kalen Smith is a professional Internet marketer, consumer researcher and writer. He has been a writer for Weight Loss Triumph and is the cofounder of the blog Great Paleo Diet Cookbooks, where he writes about the paleo diet and lifestyle.

1 Comment

  1. roadturn

    June 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Great headline, Kalen. And it’s reassuring to hear those physicians are keeping an open mind … “They are willing to acknowledge that not all obese citizens suffer from mental health problems.”   That’s a big step towards the root of the problem. I wonder, could they be on to something with the diet and exercise idea?  :) 

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