Many baby boomers at risk of poor health, according to new study
Published Monday, February 4, 2013 5:10PM CST
Last Updated Monday, February 4, 2013 6:48PM CST
Canadians are growing older and many are not as healthy as they might think.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation 2013 Annual Report on the Health of Canadians was released Monday.
This year, the foundation surveyed 800 Canadian baby boomers across the country on how they plan to grow old, and their perceived and actual lifestyle habits.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation says its survey shows 80 per cent of baby boomers believe they are in good health, when in fact their lifestyle choices show the opposite is true.
Eighty-five per cent don’t eat enough vegetables and fruits and 40 per cent aren’t getting enough physical activity.
Officials say one of the most alarming findings is that without lifestyle changes now, many baby boomers face a decade of sickness and disability in their later years.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation says according to Statistics Canada, although Canadians are living longer, on average, there’s a 10-year gap between how long we live, and how long we live in health. This gap is largely linked to heart disease, stroke and other chronic conditions.
Amanda Nash is a dietitian with the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Winnipeg. She says eating a poor diet equals nearly three years of quality life lost. She says adults should be aiming for seven to ten servings of vegetables and fruits every day.
The study shows 21 per cent of baby boomers are smokers. “We know when you smoke you decrease your quality of life by two and a half years,” said Nash. “When you drink more than two or three drinks a day you’re putting yourself at risk for heart disease and stroke.”
Being inactive can result in nearly four years of quality of life lost. It’s suggested that older Canadians aim to be active for 150 minutes a week doing things like gardening and walking.
Stress can also take a toll. The Heart and Stroke Foundation says excessive stress can cost two or more years of quality life.
Officials point out the good news is that if lifestyle changes are made now, many Canadians can considerably reduce the effects of heart disease and stroke.