According to a new study, Canadians are avoiding premature death much better now than they were 30 years ago.

Darla Larocque and Justin Myskiw are among those Canadians making healthier choices.

"Because of my kids, I have to set an example, and eating healthy is part of that," said Larocque.

The premature death rate in Canadians under 75 has been cut in half in the last 30 years according to a new report by the Canadian Institute of Health Information.

The report found an overall drop in premature deaths across Canada, but Manitoba didn't fare as well as British Columbia or Ontario.

Researchers said while premature death rates dropped in Manitoba, there is still a lot of work to be done for Manitobans to live longer, healthier lives.

"Definitely keeping healthy and staying fit is something that will help you live longer," said Myskiw.

The report found more and more Canadians are doing the same thing. Researchers said premature death rates in Canadians under 75 dropped 45 per cent between 1979 and 2008.

But it wasn't all good news – in Manitoba, for example, the gap between people with good health and poor health is greater.

"In addition to creating environments that help everybody, we need to focus on the people who have the least health and say, ‘Why are they the least healthy?' said Dr. Michael Routledge, a Medical Officer of Health.

And researchers said, at least to some degree, people control their own health destinies.

The report found in 2008, nearly half of all the premature deaths of people under 75 were from treatable or preventable causes. Seventy per cent of those could have been avoided altogether.

Dr. Dhali Daliwal of Cancer Care Manitoba said Manitobans smoke more, are less active and have a higher obesity rate than other Canadians.

"We need to double and triple our efforts in the prevention and in improving treatment, which this report clearly shows makes a big difference," said Daliwal.

With a few small lifestyle changes, Daliwal said Manitobans could live years longer.

Daliwal recommends quitting smoking, wearing sunscreen, eating well, exercising and seeing your doctor. Those changes can reduce your risk of cancer by 60 per cent.