Canadians’ sedentary lifestyle harmful to the country’s economy

The Conference Board of Canada has just published a report on the impact of the sedentary lifestyle in Canada. It reveals that Canadians are rather inactive. However, an improvement, even modest, of their level of activity would be beneficial to the country’s economy.

If only 10% of Canadians spent less time sitting and practised more physical activity, the effects on the country’s economy would be quickly visible. This is according to a report from the Conference Board titled  “Moving Ahead: Making the Case for Healthy Active Living in Canada”, which would reduce health care costs by $2.6 billion and inject $7.5 billion into the Canadian economy by 2040. If Canadians were to begin this change next year, these beneficial effects could be felt by 2020, according to the report.

Fewer chronic diseases

Numerous studies have in recent years shown that that the sedentary lifestyle of many Canadian workers involves its own set of health risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or osteoporosis. The incidence of these chronic debilitating diseases could be reduced over the next 25 years if changes were to take place among a modest number of Canadians. Thus, the Conference Board envisages over this period a reduction of 222,000 cases of high blood pressure, 120,000 cases of diabetes, 170,000 cases of heart disease and 30,000 cases of cancer. This is besides a reduction by 2.4% in premature mortality by 2020, or 6,600 lives saved.

More productivity

With such health benefits, workers would be absent from the office less due to illness. This would represent a sure gain in productivity for companies, and more so for the country’s economy. According to the report, Canada’s gross domestic product would thereby increase by $7.5 billion by 2040.

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