New research shows that unhealthy choices could cost the average Canadian an average of six years of life. Fortunately, according to the researchers, the reverse is also true. Non-smokers that have healthy diets, achieve a daily goal of exercise and do not drink excessively have life expectancies that are 17.9 years greater than those with the unhealthiest behaviors.
Unhealthy diets, smoking, the abuse of alcohol, and the lack of physical activity are the main causes for about 50 percent of Canadian deaths.
It’s hard to know how that cigarette, missed workout, or greasy burger is affecting us today when we most likely won’t feel all that much different tomorrow.
Using a massive amount of data from the Canadian Community Health Survey, researchers have managed to establish how quickly our unhealthy choices could kill us. Dr. Doug Manuel of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and lead author of the study concluded that life expectancy was reduced by an average of six years from unhealthy lifestyles.
The study revealed that 26 percent of all deaths in Canada between 2009 and 2010 were attributable to smoking, 24 percent were due to inactivity, twelve percent were because of a poor diet and 0.4 percent were attributable to unhealthy alcohol consumption.
Researchers mentioned that this study was meant to reveal which behaviors pose the biggest threat.
Raising awareness on the consequences smoking has on people’s health has led to a light drop of smoking rates in Canada. Ottawa now has the lowest rate of smokers in the country, according to recent research.
Canada is known to have some of the best health data in the world. This is mostly due to the fact that people agreed to link their health survey information to their health outcomes, meaning their health-related habits can be recorded along with their age of death. Researchers hope that this kind of records will be used around the world in similar countries for better monitoring health-related activities.
The impact of health problems on life expectancy can be precisely measured by having access to the linked information. It could be considered a breakthrough for health surveys where the old methods have remained unchanged for the last 60 years.
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