An exploratory spatial analysis of overweight and obesity in Canada
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OBJECTIVE: The identification of spatial clusters of overweight and obesity can be a key indicator for targeting scarce public health resources. This paper examines sex-specific spatial patterns of overweight/obesity in Canada as well as investigates the presence of spatial clusters. METHODS: Using data on Body Mass Index (BMI) from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey (20 years and older) cycle 3.1, a cross-sectional ecological-level study was conducted. Sex-specific prevalence of overweight and obesity were first mapped to explore spatial patterns. In order to assess the degree of spatial dependence, exploratory spatial data analysis was performed using the Moran's I statistic and the Local Indicator of Spatial Association (LISA). RESULTS: Results revealed marked geographical variation in overweight/obesity prevalence with higher values in the Northern and Atlantic health-regions and lower values in the Southern and Western health-regions of Canada. Significant positive spatial autocorrelation was found for both males and females, with significant clusters of high values or 'hot spots' of obesity in the Atlantic and Northern health-regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. CONCLUSIONS: Findings reveal overweight/obesity clusters and underscore the importance of geographically focused prevention strategies informed by population-specific needs.
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