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Canadians jeopardizing quality of life

Nine out of 10 Canadians are jeopardizing the quality and length of their lives, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The foundation’s 2011 Report on Canadians’ Health found that many Canadians are in denial about their risk factors for heart disease such as being overweight and being physically inactive – risk factors they can manage and control.

Each year, about 250,000 potential years of life are lost in Canada due to cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and other chronic heart-related conditions.

“Canadians know what to do to live healthier, longer lives, but there’s a huge disconnect between what we think we are doing to address our risk factors and reality,” said Dr. Beth Abramson, cardiologist and spokeswoman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “We know that up to 80 per cent of premature heart disease is preventable yet we’re not managing some of the most common and deadly cardiovascular risk factors as well as we think we are.”

The reality is about half of Canadians don’t meet the physical activity and healthy eating recommendations.

“It’s not just years of life that are at stake,” said Abramson. “It’s healthy quality years that can be gained. By being physically active, you gain close to four years of life – three of those free of heart disease and stroke.”

The foundation’s prescription for a healthy lifestyle and more quality years of life is to manage the risk factors that can be controlled – follow a healthy diet, be physically active, know and control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, maintain a healthy weight, be smoke-free, reduce stress, manage diabetes and limit al

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living and advocacy.

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