Cumberland County second most obese region in Canada

Dave Mathieson
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Colchester East Hants/Cumberland health region, 71.3 per cent overweight or obese

Making their morning rounds Thursday at the walking track inside the Springhill community centre are Jack MacDonald (left), Doug Dobson, Joy Corkum and, following close behind, Sam MacDonald.

AMHERST – Cumberland County has been recognized by Maclean’s magazine as the second fattest region in Canada.

“That’s interesting,” said Ann Keddy, director of public relations at the Cumberland Health Authority. “But not surprising.”

On newsstands now, The Maclean’s Book of Lists has a section called ‘Life, Love & Sex.’

Under the topic ‘Health’ is a list of ‘The 10 most overweight regions of the country.’

Rated second is Colchester East Hants/Cumberland, N.S., health region with 71.3 per cent of the population overweight or obese.

“Overall, we don’t take good care of ourselves,” said Keddy. “We have high rates of a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes and high blood pressure and a number of other areas where we don’t rank very well.”

Keddy points to the H1N1 crisis of 2009 as a good example of the lack of concern for health among resident of Cumberland County.

“Almost half of the population of Nova Scotia took advantage of the vaccine but in Cumberland County we were barely above 30 per cent, so that’s a good example of the fact that people don’t take good care of themselves,” said Keddy.

Asked why Cumberland County lags behind the rest of the country, Keddy said:

“Maybe part of it is because we’re largely rural.”

“We do have facilities in communities like Springhill and Amherst that have rinks and walking tracks but, because we’re largely rural, maybe people don’t take advantage of the facilities,” she added. “There’s parks and other facilities people can use in towns but those facilities might not be getting used by people in more rural communities.”

Sixty-nine-year old Doug Dobson can be found most weekday mornings walking the track at the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre in Springhill.

The Sprinhiller said the second-place ranking should be a wakeup call to the citizens of the region.

“When you hear that statistic it’s kind of alarming,” said Dobson. “It sends a strong message that maybe more emphasis has to be put on the weight problem.”

Dobson walks 16 laps around the track Monday through Friday.

He says 16 laps is, “two miles (3.2 kilometres).”

Dobson admits he’s not the poster boy for fitness, and said he walks mainly to counter his love of food.

“Over the years I’ve always been fairly active but I also was a pretty good enjoyer of foods,” he said.

He would like to return to the weight he was during his hockey playing days, which was about 220 pounds, but said he would need to lose about 40 pounds to get there.

“I was much younger then,” he said with a laugh.

Even though he hasn’t lost much weight, Dobson said walking helps him stay active.

“I feel if I’m walking then the engines inside me are getting a workout,” he said. “When I don’t walk I can feel it.

“If I stop for a week or two weeks I find it hard to get back into it, but once I get going again on a consistent basis and get my two miles in a day I feel better.”

Dobson believes healthy people make for a healthy community.

“When you’re active you participate in many more things,” he said.

Dobson said county residents do come to Springhill to use the walking track, but he would like to see even more people from the county use the walking track in both Springhill and Amherst.

“I look forward to it now, not only to walk, but to walk with people and share stories,” he said “It can be fun, so bring a partner. The more the merrier.”


10 most overweight regions of Canada according to Maclean’s:

(health regions, followed by percentage of population overweight or obese)

1 – Burntwood, Churchill, Manitoba; 73.4 per cent

2 – Colchester East Hants, Cumberland, Nova Scotia; 71.3

3 – South Shore, South West, Nova Scotia; 70.2 per cent

4 – Prince Albert Parkland region, Saskatchewan; 69.9

5 – North-Manitoba region, Manitoba; 68.6

6 – Prairie North region, Saskatchewan; 68.5

7 – Interlake region, Manitoba; 68.4

8 – Kelsey Trail region, Saskatchewan; 68.3

9 – Central region, Newfoundland; 68.1

10 – Sunrise region, Saskatchewan; 68.1

Three fittest regions of Canada:

1 – Vancouver, British Columbia; 35.0

2 – Toronto Central region, Ontario; 39.3

3 – Fraser region, (East Vancouver) British Columbia; 43.9

(Statistics courtesy of MacLean’s)









Organizations: Cumberland, Prince Albert

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Canada, AMHERST Springhill Nova Scotia Manitoba Saskatchewan Vancouver British Columbia Colchester East Hants Parkland Prairie North Newfoundland Toronto Central Ontario

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Recent comments

  • Joel
    July 15, 2012 - 13:31

    I think its pretty sad youre trying to blame the governement for this problem. Take some responsibility for your weight problems . We live ina very rural area. why do people not grow gardens etc. This isn't even ok . pure laziness. The regions with the fittest people are mainly urban and populated that doesn't man anything. There are less people here and more of them are obese.

  • amherstonianforlife
    July 13, 2012 - 21:21

    I would just like to further clarify on this subject. First and foremost as an obese person ........ I DO NOT WANT TO MAKE EXCUSES for anyone including myself. BMI is simply stating that if your a certain height you shouldn't weight anymore than this figure or your obese. What about a body builder ? I'm sure their goal is to bulk up and build muscle to make themselves bigger. So by eating very healthy and working out the most you can handle you will make yourself obese according to the body mass index but yet at the same time be very muscular and healthy. Although I am not skinny nor have been for many years of my life, I'm pretty sure that even if I was skinny I would be considered obese. I happen to be vertically challenged but at the same time I am very broad in the shoulders....... guess I was genetically predisposed to be obese. The other thing that makes me wonder is where Macleans magazine gets their information. I'm no Colombo but with five minutes research using the modern day sleuthing tool GOOGLE, I found some data from another reliable source.......Statistics Canada. According to Macleans magazine 73.4 percent of the population of Burntwood, Churchill, Manitoba is obese yet according to stats canada only 68.1 percent are obese and under the category of perceived health, very good or excellent 52.1 percent of the population fits into that category. Not bad for the most obese area of canada eh. So what about Colchester East Hants, Cumberland area versus Vancouver? Here is the link to check it out for yourself (it's long but it's a true comparison) Yes we are more "obese" than Vancouver but I think if you go to the link you will see that most of the Macleans numbers don't jive with what Statistics Canada's research says...................... You be the judge how accurate they are at Macleans!

  • my goodness
    July 13, 2012 - 12:30

    it has nothing to do with being low income people,gee our health professionals are obesed,not that I have anything against them,our doctors/nurses are overweight at our local hospitial,and I doubt if they are low income.PEOPLE need to stop eating everything in sight,it's as simple as that,and so what a donut shop is being built,people have a choice not to indulge on donuts/coffee,apparently they are not that low income because if they were then they wouldn't be able to afford donuts/coffee.common sense is watch what they eat and get off their computer chairs and walk/exercise,it's as simple as that!!!IT really peeves me off when others make excuses for our behaviours in this community,we are all responsible for our own choices in life and people choose to live a lifestyle of obesity they there is a consequence,so stop making excuses for this beinge eating and do something about it people!!!LIKE I said ....I have nothing against obese people,but I do when excuses are made for them!!!!geeeee

  • Rhonda Grant
    July 13, 2012 - 11:17

    And in realted news this morning....... patrons of the Tim Hortons downtown are vowing to beat that number next year and be number one! Churchill Manitoba, you're goin down in flames!

  • General Manager
    July 13, 2012 - 09:34

    Also, if Dobson gets down to his playing weight of 220, the Cool Blues should sign him for the coming season.

  • dave
    July 13, 2012 - 08:51

    for life makes a good point - for example if dobson got down to his playing weight of 220 pounds - his BMI would probably still list him as obese.

  • sueb
    July 13, 2012 - 08:40

    I think if you did a comparison of the economic health of the country you would also find a correlation between the areas with the most overweight people and the areas with the highest poverty. Many of the people in our region are overweight because they can't afford healthy foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables, cost a whole lot more than a box of KD and quite frankly many of our poor live off of a diet consisting mainly of low-cost, high calorie/fat foods. Instead of feeling ashamed we should be outraged that our government has done next to nothing to help us out of our economic crises. The reason so many of our residents aren't looking after their health is because: A) they can't afford to; and, B) many have lost hope and can't see the value in being healthy when they are living in abject poverty.

  • O.Bese
    July 13, 2012 - 08:08

    So, are we still applauding the arrival of another donut shop to the area?

  • peter
    July 13, 2012 - 07:08

    Maybe one of the reasons we are more overweight is not eating a proper diet. Cumberland County is very low income, compared to most other parts of Canada and it cost more money to have a good diet. Lower income families eat cheaper foods, with more starch, sugar and fat.

  • amherstonainforlife
    July 13, 2012 - 06:15

    I only have two comments on this! !. I bet if you look at some people who are pretty physically fit they meet the criteria for being obese. I know some pretty large people who are more fit then some skinny people. 2. Did anyone notice the 3 fittest regions of canada happen to be very populated. I think too often statistics are used to make a point.