Fat and Not Afraid

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Canadians Not As Healthy As They Think?

January 3, 2011

The CBC is reporting today on a survey done late last year that indicates Canadians aren't as healthy as they think they are.  Just over 2000 Canadians were polled; 1514 adults and 506 youth.  You can find the PDF online and follow along with me while I pick this apart.  Gabe and I just got back from a long walk to the post office (in which he managed to fall FOUR TIMES! a new record) so he's resting and out of my hair for a bit.

1: "Adults and youth agree that the number one health issue affecting Canadians today is obesity. This is fitting, since half of the adults surveyed (51%) considered themselves overweight (44%) or obese (7%). What is interesting is that despite the fact that half consider themselves overweight/obese, most (77%) believe that they: (a) generally live a healthy lifestyle, (b) eat a healthy diet and eat healthier than the average Canadian (78% and 65%, respectively), and (c) maintain a healthy weight."

This 'interesting' tidbit could be because Canadians polled are aware that their health is not completely reliant on their weight, that you can be fat and healthy.  If this is true, that's awesome.  The crush of the obesity 'epidemic' isn't quite so bad up here, as I've blogged about before, so maybe the positive messages get through more often than the negative ones.

2:  "Six-in-ten adults and youth alike feel tired most of the time, which isn’t surprising, since both adults and youth average an hour less sleep each night that what is recommend (adults: 6.9; youth: 7.8).
•About a third note that they feel stressed most of the time, however, most are doing everything they can to reduce their stress levels (though adults seem to be doing a better job of it)."

This ties in with the fact that, though we are richer than ever, we work more hours and therefore have less time for leisure and sleep.  When households are struggling to hold on with two or even three paycheques, something has to give, and I guarantee you it'll be your health that goes first.  Who hasn't been there? Tired, overworked, stressed to the max and wham! You catch a helluva cold, or maybe the flu.  It lingers for a week, two weeks, and you just can't seem to get better.  That is, you can't get better until you actually take time off from everything; family, job, volunteering, housework, and just rest.  Then you go back to work, get stressed, lose sleep and get sick again.

3: "On average, youth are exercising vigorously nearly five hours a week, while adults average around two. In order to stay healthy, both adults and youth believe they should be exercising more, on average, than they are currently.
•When asked why they might not be getting as much exercise as they would like, adults and youth gave similar responses, the top three being: not enough time, a dislike of exercise, and not enough money to join a gym or purchase exercise equipment."

5 hours a week of vigorous excercising sounds pretty good to me! That's an hour a day, 5 days a week for kids age 12-17.  Some kids are probably getting gym once or twice a week at school, or are on a team of some kind, out skateboarding, swimming, whathaveyou.  Adults only getting 2 hours a week of excercise should be the headline, honestly, as we know excercise is what makes a difference, not number on a scale or BMI.  If the experts and government are concerned that Canadians are unhealthy they should be putting a cap on the price of gym memberships and provinding subsidies that families can actually USE, not a half-assed tax break the rich currently take advantage of, which I wrote about before.

While Canadians may be fatter than they actually think, it sounds to me like those polled have a pretty good grasp of how actually healthy they are, which is far more important than whether or not the number on the scale is 'right' or not.

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