Chronic Diseases of Lifestyle
Many people do not think about the long-term health implications of their lifestyle choices. Most of us seem to think “it won’t happen to me” when it comes to chronic diseases. Since we all know that we can safely eat a candy or even as many as thousands of candies or lay on the couch watching television day after day without seeing any immediate harmful effects, it can be difficult to imagine that we are slowly developing chronic diseases over time. This concept of developing diseases over time from the specific lifestyle choices that each of us makes, is known as chronic diseases of lifestyle (CDL). It is unfortunate that these chronic diseases of lifestyle are becoming the norm in Canada. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, “the four leading causes of preventable deaths and disabilities in Canada are cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and lung disease”.1 Other preventable diseases associated with the typical Canadian lifestyle include obesity, gallstones, osteoporosis, and gastrointestinal conditions such as constipation, diverticular disease, and hemorrhoids. This risk of developing the aforementioned diseases can be greatly reduced simply by making changes to our diets, refraining from using cigarettes and other substances, and adding exercise as part of our daily routines. Overweight and obesity are on the rise in Canada. This is likely not shocking news to most Canadians as it has been continually climbing for decades now. According to Statistics Canada, “nearly one in four of all Canadian adults are obese”.2 Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat. In quantifiable terms, a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or over is considered obese. Some of the factors leading to Canada’s rising obesity rates include our reliance on labour-saving devices, inactive lifestyles, huge portion sizes, and increased consumption of processed and refined foods. Obesity carries with it many long-term health risks such as heart disease,
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3. “Obesity.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 3 Aug. 2012. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.
4. Hamilton, Meredith. “Obesity and Diabetes: A Canadian Epidemic.” The Science Creative Quarterly, Issue 8. The Science Quarterly, 2013. Web Article. 17 Apr. 2013.
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6. “What Are Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors?” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.
7. “What Is Coronary Heart Disease?” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 23 Aug. 2012. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.
8. “What is High Blood Pressure?” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2 Aug. 2012. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.