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Dieting Is Big Business in Canada Too…

Obesity is apparently big business in Canada too–about one tenth the size of the United States market. Many of the large U.S. weight loss companies have outlets in Canada (Weight Watchers, jenny Craig), along with many home-grown chains. According to The Star, at least $6 billion is spent annually by Canadians for weight loss surgeries, diet pills, special diets and meal replacements.

However, say obesity experts north of the border, it’s literally a “free-for -all”, Wild West market, in terms of regulation. Almost a third of that $6 billion is spent by the highest risk persons that are obese.

Health Canada rules sate that “medical devices must not be advertised to the general public making any claims related to obesity.” Medical procedures in general are a provincial responsibility..

A study by the Canadian Obesity Network claims that 3 million people considered obese in Canada spend an average of $580 per year for quick fix solutions. Much of that money goes to non-prescription weight loss products such as herbs and supplements. Those products are approved by Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate.

Regulations regarding marketing have essentially been abandoned amid the sheer volume of weight loss products, which makes monitoring almost impossible. The agency Health Canada has the power to crack down, but doesn’t, say those following the market.


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