Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans, according to a 2010 study published in BioMed Central’s journal Population Health Metrics.
Whereas the average American lives to about 77.2 years, the average Canadian will live for almost another three years.
That’s not all. While Canada’s obesity rate is high – about 24% of Canadians are obese, according to a 2010 Statistics Canada study – it’s ten percent less than the American rate: more than one hundred million Americans are clinically obese.
So why do our Southern neighbors have such different health outcomes than we do? According to David Feeny, one of the co-authors of the 2010 study, it’s because of our health care systems and the more widespread prevalence of poverty in the United States. He said Canada’s universal health care system ensures that every Canadian – regardless of employment, economic standing or age – is covered for physician and hospital expenses.
But American’s public-private system leaves more than 49 million Americans without any health insurance: that means they can’t afford to go to the doctor, and a small problem will go untreated until it’s fatal.
So besides limiting the ounce size of fast-food drinks, like New York’s government recently did, what else can we do to maintain a healthy weight and reduce our obesity rate, ultimately living longer, healthier lives?
Like anyone on a constant cycle trying to lose weight, we know the basic facts: exercise more, eat less, and cut out junk food. But it’s harder said than done. Instead of punishing yourself for indulging in a little chocolate, here are a few small things you can do to satisfy your cravings while eating healthier.
- Love crunchy salted chips? Replace it with a cup of stove-popped popcorn. It takes less than ten minutes to make and tastes just as good. Pop it with oil instead of butter to make it healthier.
- An average cup of oil-popped popcorn has about 55 calories per cup whereas a small bag of chips has around 275 calories. Speed up the process with Ontario Popping Corn’s Micro-Popper – it only takes a few minutes in the microwave and there’s no oil required.
- Chocolate craving? Replace milk with dark chocolate, like Cocolico’s Blueberry & Dark Chocolate Sauce. Milk chocolate contains less cocoa than dark chocolate, so more sugar and cream are added to make up the rest. Plus, dark chocolate can help lower your blood pressure, and it’s an antioxidant (which destroy free radicals, the molecules that are associated with heart disease).
- The dessert dilemma: instead of baking chocolate cake for your next pot-luck or family dinner, why not try something a little healthier, like Gluten Free Spicy Carrot Cake?