A new study released today highlights what we have long suspected. Our unhealthy habits have a price and that price is costing Ontarians 7.5 years of life. Those habits include the impact of smoking, alcohol, diet, physical activity and stress — all of which are modifiable. Since the mid-1990s, British Columbia has been the healthiest province with the highest life expectancy and, compared to Ontario, the smallest proportion of residents who smoke, have poor fruit and vegetable consumption or are physically inactive. Despite improvements in the rates of some unhealthy behaviours in the past decade, Ontario continues to lag behind British Columbia in healthy living.

New research from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), Public Health Ontario (PHO), the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) and the University of Ottawa (uOttawa) shows 60 per cent of deaths in Ontario are attributed to smoking, alcohol, poor diet, lack of physical activity and stress. The good news is that by reducing these identifiable behaviours- you can make a change in your outcome for healthy living. By pro-active choice, Ontarians and people, in general, could become the healthiest people in the entire country and make remarkable gains in life expectancy if we all collectively made changes towards healthier living.

According to this report, Ontarians would gain 7.5 years of life expectancy if everyone were in the healthiest category for all five behavioural risks examined. Smoking, physical inactivity and poor diet each contribute 2 to 2.5 years of lost life expectancy. If everyone modified only their most important health risk, overall life expectancy would increase by up to 3.7 years.7 years

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