The Health Status Of Canadians In 2018: Tech Making Us Physically Inactive

In the 21st century, we live in an amazing world, with access to rich resources, mind-boggling technology and an unending stream of information, especially in Canada. So why, in such an advanced society, are people plagued by completely avoidable degenerative diseases?

Obesity levels have risen drastically since 1978, and so has the incidence of serious health problems. Approximately one-third of Canadians and North Americans, in general, are obese, which means they are overweight by more than 30 percent of their ideal body weight. Alarming percentages of children and seniors are obese as well, which makes this trend even more disturbing. Doctors warn that we may be raising the first generation of children with a shorter life expectancy than their parents. 14 percent of the population aged 6 to 18 years old in Canada can be classified as obese by WHO definition according to the Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada 2018.

Obesity is more prevalent among developed countries, as opposed to undeveloped countries and Canadians are paying the price, in more ways than one. People who are obese and do not exercise regularly are at a greater risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, certain cancers and numerous musculoskeletal disorders including osteoarthritis of the joints.

The cause of obesity has been linked to genetic and environmental factors. However, studies have shown that the major cause may be environmental. Tech was intended to leave us more time for leisure activities like exercise. In fact, the opposite has been the case. Technology and mechanization have been a major factor in promoting a sedentary lifestyle, while we are entertained by the world of television and computers. Because of this, most individuals of all ages today do not engage in any form of physical activity during whatever leisure time they have.

Canadians rely on technology and mechanization of many tasks that used to involve physical exertion (mowing the lawn with a push mower, hand washing clothes and dishes, vegetable gardening, walking to work). The advent of technology has replaced activities that would have once required hours of physical work to accomplish what can now be done in just a few seconds by pushing a button. The problem is that the human body’s skeletal muscles were designed for movement and strenuous physical activity. Our skeletal muscles form the functional and metabolic engines that control the expenditure of energy and the general health of our internal systems (heart, lung). In order for our bodies to function optimally and remain healthy, we must use our muscles, rather than burdening our bodies by piling on fat due to lack of exercise and/or bad eating habits.

Chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease are the leading causes of death in Canada. It is alarming that in 2011, almost 2.7 million or 1 in 10 Canadians 20 years and older were living with diabetes. Rising rates of type II diabetes can be considered a red flag for poor health as they are associated with higher rates of other diseases and conditions and linked to an unhealthy diet, low physical activity and higher rates of overweight and obesity. Rates of type II diabetes and other chronic diseases in Canada could be reduced by seamlessly integrating healthy living into our daily lives which can be achieved, in part, by designing and redesigning our communities. – The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada 2017

The general consensus among fitness experts is that regular, proper exercise and good nutrition are the best defences against the development of many diseases and disorders. And the good news is that whatever your age, weight or physical condition, you can introduce exercise and proper nutrition into your life. The first step is to make a resolution to introduce some form of exercise as a priority in your daily living.

Major chronic diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes continue to be the leading causes of all deaths in Canada. It is important that as we age, we live in good health. Many chronic diseases can be prevented or delayed by approaches that get to the root causes of risks such as tobacco smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, and harmful use of alcohol. – The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada 2018

This might include anything from walking to the corner store instead of taking the car, opting to use the stairs at work rather than the elevator, or joining a fitness club.

If you are looking to get started with online personal training, email me right now (info @ canfitness.com) and I’ll be happy to help you on your journey.

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