Five unhealthy habits

How would you like to live an extra seven and a half years?

That’s how much longer Ontarians would live, on average, if we could ditch five bad habits: smoking, excessive drinking, poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle and stressing out.

The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and Public Health Ontario came to that conclusion after crunching the numbers. And that staggering number of 7 and a half years is just an average, it’s not the worst of it.

For those who have all five bad habits, life expectancy is 68.5 years for men and 71.5 years for women.

Compare that to people with the healthiest lifestyles, non-smoking, moderate drinkers who exercise regularly and eat lots of fruit and veggies: their life expectancy is 88.6 years for men and 92.5 years for women. That’s a 20-year difference between the worst and the best lifestyles.

The latter group also lives a decade longer without the chronic conditions and disabilities that are common in older Zoomers. Don’t feel too badly if you’re somewhere in the middle. Only 1.4% of Ontarians have no bad habits. And other factors like income and education have an impact.

But the report says those five unhealthy habits account for more than 60 per cent of premature death. And smoking, drinking, eating and sitting are things we can all try to control.

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