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TheStreet Open House

Heart And Stroke Foundation Report: Without Lifestyle Changes Now, Many Baby Boomers Face A Decade Of Sickness And Disability In Their Later Years

"The lifestyle choices that Canadian boomers are making directly contribute to living the last 10 years of their lives in sickness. This should cause boomers a lot of concern," says Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Beth Abramson. "The good news is that if lifestyle changes are made now, many Canadians can considerably reduce the effects of heart disease and stroke. It is possible for us to take charge of our heart health, reduce hospitalizations and immobility, significantly improving the quality of our lives."

Brian Campkin knows first-hand what it feels like to have a close call. Six years ago, at the age of 46, after feeling terrible shortness of breath on the tennis court, Brian was diagnosed with blocked arteries and underwent life-saving triple bypass surgery.

"I was stopped in my tracks. Literally. I had to face the fact that I wasn't healthy - and that was a shock, but it really shouldn't have been," says Campkin. "I didn't take care of myself and I was a slave to some of life's common stressors. I put everything else in my life before my health. I actually set myself on a path to sickness."

Since then, Brian has made it his mission to turn his life around. "I've taken control of my health and made a lot of healthy choices like changing my diet, so I can have the quality life I want in the future. I've lost 20 pounds and feel better than ever," Campkin adds.

Big Plans, Little Action Canadian boomers are planning full lives for their later years. The survey showed 61 per cent feel the quality of the time they spend living is more important than the length of time. Half of boomers (54 per cent) want to travel and be active around the house, 38 per cent want to be involved grandparents, 36 per cent want to take up a new hobby and a quarter (27 per cent) would like to winter somewhere warm and sunny.

"We typically think teenagers are the ones who live like they're invincible, but boomers seem to forget their mortality too," says David Sculthorpe, CEO, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canada. "In order to take full advantage of life and Make Health Last, Canadians need to take action - it's their time to decide if they'll grow old with vitality, or get old with disease."

"In a lot of cases this is a personal journey for Canadians, but it's also bigger than that," added Sculthorpe. "The Heart and Stroke Foundation will to continue to work with governments and health organizations to ensure that as a country, we enable access to healthy food, healthy activities and informed healthy decisions."

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