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Are your perceptions about your health unhealthy?

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Do you think you’re healthy?  A report from the Heart and Stroke Foundation looked at how Canadians perceived their own health.  Eighty percent of Canadian baby boomers felt that their doctors would rate them as healthy despite the fact that many of them smoked, drank heavily or had other unhealthy habits. 

How does this matter to you?  Many people have plans for their retirement years that include traveling, spending time with family and pursuing hobbies but your current lifestyle may make your retirement one of doctor’s visits and stays in hospitals or long term care facilities.  The biggest culprit is that we lie to ourselves about our own health.  The survey mentioned above didn’t turn around and ask the doctor’s what sort of health their patients enjoyed, the people surveyed self-reported their unhealthy lifestyle choices which begs the question which choices did they gloss over or outright lie about.

So how do you prevent the last ten years of your life from being unhealthy?  You need to learn to control these five behaviors according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation:

•Physical inactivity results in nearly four years of quality life lost

•Eating a poor diet equals nearly three years of quality life lost

•Excessive stress can cost nearly two years of quality life lost

•Excessive drinking can cost two years of quality life lost

•Smoking can cost two and a half years of quality life lost

Canadians aren’t the only ones that ignore evidence to the contrary about their health.  A 2011 U.S. Department of Agriculture report comes right out and says that it’s difficult to create policies to improve diets because consumers don’t see the dietary guidelines as directed at themselves and they overrate the quality of their own diets.  One bonus is that Americans have become increasingly more realistic about our diets so that although the study didn’t find an improvement in the American diet it did find that fewer people thought that their diets were healthy.

How about you?  Are you kidding yourself about your own health?  Is it time to have a heart-to-heart with your doctor and find out just how healthy or unhealthy you are?

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