Obesity rates stabilizing, but still high

Obesity rates may finally be stabilizing in New Brunswick, but they continue to be among the worst in the country, leading to an increased risk of premature death from obesity-related illnesses, according to the New Brunswick Health Council.

Stephane Robichaud, the the president and chief executive officer of the New Brunswick Health Council, said although numbers may be steadying, preventable illnesses associated with obesity like diabetes and heart disease are still responsible for many deaths.

"We see that we have a higher rate than the rest of the country of people dying before the age of 75 for treatable or preventable causes."

A report released by the Canadian Public Health Association says that 30 per cent of the adult population is obese in Atlantic Canada.

In New Brunswick, the highest rates of obesity are in the northwest, where 27.4 per cent of adults are obese and in the Acadian Penninsula where 28.8 per cent are obese.

Betty Bevans, who weighed 720 pounds at one point, has lost 300 pounds and is still losing.

"It's the way you've been brought up. What you do. We weren't outdoorsy people. Potatoes was a staple. A French family, I mean, you had poutine, you had all kinds of things you smothered in molasses and that's the way we grew up," said Bevans.

"And people just look at people and say, 'Oh they're fat so they're slobs, and they're all kinds of things.' I've heard it. They make fun, but they don't understand and they're just quick to judge."

Bevans, who educated herself about eating better and working out, said there should be more support for people trying to live a healthier life and to prevent obesity in the first place.

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