I put these words together because they are infinitely linked. This pandemic has shed a light on how personal health is important in ways that we could not have imagined a little more than a year ago. Of the three highest risk factors for contracting serious cases of covid-19, two of them are nutrition related.

The highest risk factor is age, but since we cannot control or reverse aging we must concentrate on the risk factors that we can affect. Diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) are the next leading risk factors and these are weight/nutrition related.

In 2018, 26.8% of Canadians 18 and older (roughly 7.3 million adults) reported height and weight that classified them as obese. Another 9.9 million adults (36.3%) were classified as overweight – bringing the total population with increased health risks due to excess weight to 63.1% in 2018 (statcan.gc.ca).

These statistics have gotten worse during the pandemic, as 42% of respondents to a health study admit to weight gain during this extended lockdown. Increased anxiety has led to increased intake. Body mass index is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. There are easy to use BMI calculators online and I encourage you to check your own to see where you are. A BMI of 19-24.9kg/m^2 is considered normal weight, 25-29.9 is overweight and >30 is obese.

Hopefully, we are nearing the end of this current pandemic, however there are systemic problems that have come to light that leave us vulnerable to future pandemics. Zoonosis (infectious disease that is transmitted between species from animals to humans), antimicrobial resistance, increased global trade and travel, weakened public health infrastructures are all reasons to believe that this is not the last global pandemic we will experience in our lifetime. That is why we need to pay closer attention to our own health, as we individually have little control over the above listed risks.

Not only is it important to take care of ourselves, it is important that we teach good habits to our children. A registered dietitian can help you lose weight, improve your intake and make sure you are getting proper nutrition from your diet. I am here to help you.

Doris E Farrell RD


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