People who live in Canada’s eastern-most province of Newfoundland and Labrador have about two fewer years of good health compared to the average Canadian, reports Canadian Press (CP).
“It could be geographical, it could be the cost of healthy foods, it could be a cultural thing,” said Kelly Butt to CP. Butt is a manager who oversaw a report on healthy living for the province’s main health authority.
Many risks for chronic disease
Men living in Newfoundland and Labrador can expect to live 66.3 healthy years and women 69.4. That compares to a national average of 68.9 healthy years for men and 71.2 for women.
Over 93 per cent of the province’s residents reported in a 2014 survey that they had at least one of the risk factors for chronic disease. The risks include obesity, smoking, exposure to second-hand smoke, eating fewer than five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure and heavy drinking.
Fresh produce expensive to import
Newfoundland is an island in the North Atlantic which relies heavily on food imports. About 90 per cent of fresh vegetables are brought in making the supply expensive and unreliable in bad weather. A high poverty rate in the province makes it difficult for people to afford fresh produce.
British Columbians have a healthier lifestyle
In contrast, men in the provinces of Quebec and British Columbia (B.C.) live almost 70 years in good health and women around 72.5 years. People in the western province of B.C. are known to have an active lifestyle. They smoke less, they weigh less get outdoors more, thanks in part to the milder weather they enjoy.
In general in Canada, tobacco use is declining but obesity is increasing. Many people have a sedentary lifestyle. Health authorities forecast the rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease will increase dramatically as the bulk of the population gets older.
(From Canadian Press)