Are we getting healthier?
Good news! The latest World Health Organization figures for life expectancy show Canada maintaining its 6th place ranking and overall ‘B’ grade among 17 peer countries. Ontario and British Columbia achieved ‘A’ grades and in B.C. alone, life expectancy was an impressive 82.2 years. Only Switzerland (82.8 years) and Japan (82.7 years) achieved higher.
However, do these statistics prove that as a nation, we are actually getting healthier?
3 simple steps to a longer life
You might assume that advances in scientific research and medical treatments and a healthy economy are the main explanations for increased life expectancy in any country. But, according to the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, the real secret to a long life lies in three key lifestyle factors:
- Avoiding tobacco
- Eating a healthy diet and achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight
- Being physically active
Achieving these can help us to maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They are also essential first steps to limiting the onset of chronic diseases, and promoting longer life.
How do Canadians measure up?
Life expectancy is certainly a good indicator of a country’s overall health. Research shows that changing Canadian attitudes to health over the last few decades are having a significant impact:
Tobacco smoking is associated with a large number of chronic diseases and conditions, including chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs), cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and many types of cancer. Between 2001 and 2014, the number of daily or occasional smokers in Canada fell, with an average 2.1% annual decrease. The encouraging news is that this reduction was seen right across all age groups, with those aged between 12 and 34 giving up smoking the most.
84% of Canadian consumers believe that what they eat impacts their physical health. According to the Attitudes Toward Healthy Eating 2017 study:
- 45% of us are interested in trying the latest foods that claim to boost health, such as chia seeds or spirulina.
- 35% try to include super-foods such as kale, broccoli and quinoa in their meals. Furthermore, Canadians are getting fewer of their daily calories from sugars and carbohydrates. According to a new Conference Board of Canada report, this is largely due to a reduction in the number of calories consumed from liquid refreshment beverages (LRBs). Consumption has already declined by over 30% since 2004. So, cutting the sugary cola really can help!
Whether it’s Zumba, Boxercise or simply counting steps on a Fitbit, Canadians just can’t get enough of the latest exercise crazes … or can they? In 2007, Statistics Canada embarked on the ambitious Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS). Participants were asked to wear an activity monitor (an accelerometer) for seven days. When the first results were published in 2011, they indicated that 7% of kids and 15% of adults were meeting recommendations for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (60 minutes per day for kids and 150 minutes per week for adults). However, the latest survey results over the last decade indicates no significant change.
A healthier lifestyle with AMG
Do you want to increase your daily step count or do you simply need a little advice on achieving a healthier lifestyle? At AMG London we are here to help. We aim to provide you with a better knowledge and understanding of their key health risks and how to reduce them through lifestyle choices.
In addition, our specialist Rejuv Cardio Health Program can help you reverse cardiovascular disease and reduce your risk of other cardio-respiratory diseases.
Looking for a better way to exercise? Call our Fitness Centre today and see how we can help you reach your fitness and exercise goals with the latest fitness equipment and regular exercise classes. No gym-timidation here!
For more information, call us at 519 873 1700 or drop by our state-of-the-art facility at 230 Victoria Street today.