The Canadian Obesity Network

The Canadian Obesity Network

April 26, 2010 08:00 ET

Canadian Obesity Network: Laying the Groundwork for a Coordinated Strategy on Obesity

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - April 26, 2010) - Tackling one of the most pressing health issues of our times will be no easy task, but there may be strength in numbers.

The Canadian Obesity Network – Reseau canadien en obesite (CON-RCO) has launched a strategic partnership program aimed at creating a community of corporate, institutional and not-for-profit organizations united by an interest in reducing the mental, physical and economic burden of obesity on Canadians.

"CON-RCO's strategy seeks to provide our partners with an opportunity to add their voice, insights and energies to goal-oriented action to address obesity," says Dr. Arya M. Sharma, the network's scientific director and founder. "As a national organization, we want to open the lines of communication between the many different sectors and industries that can and want to play a role in making Canada a healthier country."

Obesity should be a concern to all Canadians, not only to those who are obese, but to their families, employers, health practitioners, governments, non-governmental organizations and industry. It is estimated that almost 60% of Canadian adults and 26% of children and adolescents are overweight, while one in four adults are obese, as are 10% of boys and 9% of girls. Overweight individuals are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke, osteoarthritis and cancer. One in 10 premature deaths among Canadian adults aged 20–64 years is directly attributable to overweight and obesity. Annual costs of obesity in Canada could be as high as $95 billion in lost productivity, health care costs, lost tax revenues and increased public costs (e.g. welfare, worker's compensation).

Proceeds of the paid partnerships go directly to supporting the efforts of more than 4,000 obesity researchers, health professionals, decision makers and other stakeholders across Canada. CON-RCO is committed to engaging all stakeholders on improved prevention and management of obesity and its complications, as well as improved access to evidence-based management of obesity and related comorbidities for health practitioners.

"TOPS Club Inc. welcomes the opportunity to join in such a powerful partnership of scientists, medical professionals and other groups dedicating their focus to the prevention and treatment of obesity," says Barbara Cady, president of the nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss education and support organization. "Together, we offer ongoing support and accountability to all who deal with the burden of obesity and its co-morbidities."

Through CON-RCO, strategic partners can connect with over 100 institutions, professional organizations and obesity initiatives that are combining resources to reduce duplication and increase efficiency in integrated efforts against this disease.

"Dairy Farmers of Canada is a proud supporter of CON-RCO and its co-operative efforts in combating obesity amongst Canadians," says Nathalie Savoie, assistant director, nutrition, national programs, at the Dairy Farmers of Canada, a non-profit organization representing Canada's dairy producers. "Partnering with CON-RCO has enabled us to leverage our own efforts in the promotion of healthy weights, and allowed us to tap into a community of like-minded individuals and organizations."

CON-RCO was founded in 2006 to link the research, policy and practice communities to advance the development and delivery of effective obesity prevention and treatment solutions. Originally funded to September, 2010 by the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence program, the network's core strategies focus on addressing the stigma associated with excess weight, changing the way health professional approach obesity, and improving access to prevention and treatment resources. CON-RCO is hosted by the University of Alberta, and is based at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, AB.

Details of the program can be found on the CON-RCO website at

Contact Information

  • For more information, or to schedule interviews,
    please contact: Canadian Obesity Network
    Ximena Ramos Salas, MSc, Manager
    (780) 735-6798