CANADIAN TEENS TOO FAT, STONED, SAYS STUDY
A disturbing number of Canadian teens are fat, lazy, eat poorly and smoke
too much pot, according to a World Health Organization report.
At first glance, a comprehensive study of more than 150,000 young people
from 35 countries suggests Canada is a nation of physically fit, computer
literate teenagers in generally good physical and mental health.
But John Freeman, one of the major Canadian contributors to Health
Behaviour in School-aged Children, suggests all is not as it might seem.
Freeman is part of a team of researchers from Queen's University in
Kingston, Ont., who shared in the report, which is conducted every four
years and interviews 11-,13- and 15-year-olds in Canada, the U.S. and
nearly all European countries.
Canada prides itself on its level of physical activity and, with our teens
ranking in the top five countries for physical activity at all age levels,
that pride appears to be legitimate.
Our young people also rank extremely high when it comes to computer use.
They were asked if they used a computer for three hours during the week.
Their answers left 11-year-olds ranked sixth, 13-year-olds third and
On the weekends, Canada rose to first place in the two older categories.
So why, asks Freeman, are our youngsters among the most obese among the 35
We sit sixth most obese among 13-year-olds and fourth among 15-year-olds,
where the U.S. leads the list.
"This is high and seems to represent a strange juxtaposition with the
physical activity figures because we also have adolescents being more
sedentary in terms of the numbers of them using computers three or more
hours a day," he says.
"We are right near the top in that category and mid-range for TV watching.
So, they are more sedentary, more physically active and more obese. What's
Health Canada provided some of the funding for the report.
Aggie Adamczyk, a department spokesperson, said they're particularly
interested in the obesity, tobacco and cannabis figures and would be
looking at ways to address the problems.
The report shows more Canadian 15-year-olds have used cannabis in the past
year than in any of the other 35 countries.
About 37 per cent of girls and 43.3 per cent of boys admitted using
cannabis, more than double the average.