Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do to reduce my risk?

The following are 3 of the most important ways to reduce your risk of the top 4 causes of death:
See your doctor for regular screenings, not just when you are sick
Maintain a healthy weight
Eat a variety of healthy foods, and limit calories and saturated fat. Increase your fruits and vegetables intake.
Be physically active
Control your blood pressure and cholesterol
Quit smoking, or don't start.
Even by doing just one of these things, you will improve your health and reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke.

What are the most common causes of death?

Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the most common causes of death in our country today. The rate at which people die each year from one of these diseases or from complications of these diseases is very alarming.

Top 10 Causes of Death (in order)

1. Heart disease
2. Cancer
3. Stroke
4. Hypertension
5. Accidents (many are alcohol related)
6. Diabetes
7. Flu and pneumonia
8. Kidney disease
9. Infection
10. Chronic lower respiratory disease

Is it better to have an exercise plan instead of just trying to be more physically active throughout the day?

Ideally, we would all get enough exercise in our daily lives to burn the energy that we get from eating food. Unfortunately, many things about modern life let people avoid being physically active. For example, many people drive almost everywhere they go, and many jobs require people to sit at a desk for much of the day. One obvious way to burn more energy is to participate in structured exercise, such as aerobics or basketball. However, you can also burn energy by adding more movement to your everyday activities. For example, try walking in place or riding a stationary bicycle while you watch TV. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or squeeze in a couple of 15-minute walking breaks during the day.

I've tried to make these kinds of changes before and I wasn't successful. How can I do better this time?

Unhealthy behaviours become habits, so changing them can be very hard. You're more likely to make changes in your habits if you set a specific goal for yourself. The kind of goal you choose and how you think about it is very important. If you set a goal that focuses on an outcome-for example, losing 20 pounds-it can be hard to know where to start or what to do. Instead, set a goal that focuses on a specific behaviour. For example, choose one specific thing to change about the way you eat, such as adding a piece of fruit to one meal each day. This type of goal is easier to think about and plan for. Once your new healthy behaviour becomes a habit, you can move on to another goal. If you set a goal to be more physically active, you can improve your chances of success by exercising with other people. For example, set up a walking group at work or in your neighbourhood, or ask a friend to be your exercise buddy. This will provide you with support and make physical activity more enjoyable.

Diseases run in families. How much control do i really have?

It's true that heart disease, stroke and some kinds of cancer tend to occur more often in people who have a family history of the disease. However, your genes are only part of your risk for these diseases. In many cases, your behaviour is at least as important to your health as your family history. If you choose unhealthy behaviours, you are at greater risk of having a serious health problem.