Cardiovascular disease is an enormous health problem throughout the industrialized world. In Canada, approximately 1.6 million people suffer from some form of this condition.
By adopting healthy behaviours, you can delay the onset of heart disease or stroke by as much as 14 years. Up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable by adopting healthy behaviours.
“Overall, there are 247 risk factors that can damage the heart,” explains complementary physician David Steenblock, DO.
With the nature of the risks running the gamut from anything that injures the lining of the blood vessels (such as air pollution, food additives, gasoline fumes, or tobacco) and clogged arteries to family medical history and obesity, it’s easy to see why cardiovascular disease is so pervasive.
Three Key Approaches to Prevention
1. Nutrition- contributes to 80% of health
9 in 10 Canadians (24 million) have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. These factors include:
-eating less than 5 servings of vegetables and fruit a day,
-overweight or obesity,
-high blood pressure,
Maintaining five or more healthy behaviours (not smoking; maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet; and keeping high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol levels in control) is associated with an 88 percent reduction in the risk of death from heart disease or stroke.
2. Exercise- contributes to 20% of health
Only 15% of adults (17% of men and 14% of women) accumulate the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity. Getting 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity activity per week reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes by 30%.
Tip: 10,000 steps daily, which is considered achieving the recommended amount of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity, can add more than 2 years to your life!
62% or over 3 in 5 of Canadian adults are overweight or obese.
The prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease increase with increasing Body Mass Index (BMI: a ratio of height and weight).
Only 7% of Canadian children and youth accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 6 days a week, girls being significantly less active than boys. On average, children aged 6 to 17 spend nine hours a day sedentary.
Accumulating at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity every day contributes to many health benefits including improved cholesterol levels and blood pressure, cardiorespiratory fitness, academic achievement and improved mental health.
31% of Canadian children and youth aged 5 to 17, an estimated 1.6 million, are overweight or obese. Of these, four in five will grow up to be overweight adults. Childhood overweight and obesity may result in the premature onset of heart disease and stroke risk factors such as hypertension.
3. If you smoke…QUIT
16% of Canadians (approx. 4.4 million people) smoke. Smoking is responsible for close to 15% of all heart disease and stroke deaths in Canada. In 2002, 10,853 Canadians died from heart disease and stroke as a result of tobacco use and second-hand smoke. Smoking triples the risk of dying from heart disease and stroke in middle-aged men and women.
Choosing not to smoke can add more than two years to your life!
2% of children in grades 6-9 smoke and 7.8% of those in grades 10-12 smoke.
On average, smokers smoke their first whole cigarette at the age of 16 and start smoking regularly by 18 years of age.
There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Any exposure to tobacco smoke – even an occasional cigarette or exposure to secondhand smoke – is harmful.
Call Harmony House Wellness at (905) 836-5666 or book online for your FREE 15-minute introduction to see how we can help you reach your personal health and wellness goals.
All stats from the Heart and Stroke Foundation