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April 17, 2013
Your last 10 years could be filled with illness or disability, report warns

Research by the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation suggests that the average Canadian will spend the last 10 years of his/her life in sickness, disability and immobility.

In its 2013 Report on the health of Canadians, the Foundation says there is a 10-year gap between how long Canadians are living and how long they will live in good health.  The report is particularly critical of the assumptions of baby boomers who, according to the Foundation’s research, plan to grow old with vitality but have adopted lifestyles that strongly increase the risks of heart disease, stroke and other illnesses.  

“The Foundation’s poll tells us that baby boomers are concerned about their health but it also shows this concern is not translating into action, even though they say they are looking for quality time in their later years,” the report notes.  “While boomers have big plans, they need to realize they may not get the quality time they so desire unless they make lifestyle changes now.”

According to the report, the behaviours with the highest risk factors and impact on the quality of life in its last decade are:

Behaviour   Impact on quality life

Physical inactivity

The Foundation suggests 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week.

  -4 years

Poor diet

Only 40 per cent of people eat fruit and vegetables five or more times per day. The Canada Food Guide recommends seven to eight servings daily for women age 19 to 50; eight to 10 servings for men in the same age bracket.

  -3 years

High stress

30 per cent of boomers say they are often or always stressed. High cholesterol and blood pressure often accompany stress.

  -2 years


One in five Canadians still smoke, despite its well- documented health risks. The Foundation’s report indicates that health risks begin to decrease within 48 hours of quitting smoking.

  -2.5 years

Unhealthy alcohol consumption

Up to 19 per cent of people can be classed as heavy drinkers. The Foundation’s report suggests women should restrict alcohol intake to 10 drinks per week and men to 15 drinks per week.

  -2 years

Nine in 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke, the Foundation says.

The Report on the health of Canadians can be found at www.heartandstroke.com

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