Table of Contents
ISRN Pediatrics
Volume 2011, Article ID 917684, 10 pages
Review Article

Potential Contributors to the Canadian Pediatric Obesity Epidemic

1Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8L1
2School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5

Received 12 September 2011; Accepted 24 October 2011

Academic Editors: R. Hentschel, J. A. O'Neill, and D. D. Trevisanuto

Copyright © 2011 Travis Saunders. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


As a group, Canadian children and youth are heavier than at any time in the recent past. However, to date there has been no critical examination of the factors which are likely to have contributed to these deleterious trends. A review of the evidence suggests that there is robust evidence supporting the role of reduced sleep, increased sedentary time, increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and secular increases in adult obesity as contributing factors to the current epidemic of childhood obesity. There is moderate evidence that these trends are related to changes in either total energy intake or physical activity, while there is very little evidence supporting the role of maternal age, breastfeeding, exposure to endocrine disrupters, or inadequate calcium intake. These findings suggest that targeting sleep, sedentary time, and sugar-sweetened beverage intake in Canadian children and youth may help to prevent future weight gain at the population level.