Desjardins research shows startling gap in understanding about healthy behaviour
Canadians may be underestimating the risks to their heart health posed by their lifestyle, indicates a comparison Desjardins Insurance conducted of two research studies. The results show that people generally evaluate their health positively when responding to non-specific questions about their lifestyle, but responses to more specific questions demonstrates that their behaviours may not be as healthy as they believe.
An online survey of over 2,000 Canadians commissioned by Desjardins Insurance asked respondents how much they agreed with general statements such as "You have a healthy body weight," "You usually get enough exercise to be healthy," and "Your alcohol consumption is not high enough to negatively impact your health." The results were compared to those from a sample of anonymous and consented respondents to an online tool with similar profiles (in terms of age, sex, education, income and region). This tool, the Risk Assessment, was created and is run by the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
The Risk Assessment asks for specific information, including height and weight, and poses questions such as "Are you moderately active at work or at home for at least 30 to 60 minutes, four or more days of the week?" and " Typically, do you have more than one or two alcoholic drinks a day or 14 drinks a week?"
The differences between the two data sets were alarming. For example:
- While 60 percent of respondents to the Desjardins Insurance survey felt that they had a healthy weight, information about respondents' height and weight gathered by the Heart and Stroke's Risk Assessment tool shows that 60 percent of similar respondents were actually overweight or obese.
- While 71 percent of Desjardins Insurance survey respondents claim that their diet is healthy, only 47 percent of the Risk Assessment sample ate sufficient fruits and vegetables each week.
- Only 11 percent of men in the Desjardins Insurance survey felt that their drinking negatively impacted their health, but 31 percent of men in the Risk Assessment sample drank more than the recommended amount.
- In the Desjardins Insurance survey, 60 percent of respondents felt they exercised enough to be healthy but that number dropped 10 points when Risk Assessment respondents were asked about their specific exercise habits.
These gaps illustrate how important it is to have a realistic picture of your health, a better understanding of how your behaviour is impacting it, and specific tips and strategies to improve it.
This is why the Heart and Stroke Foundation, with the support of Desjardins Insurance, developed the
Risk Assessment External link. Opens in a new window.. When the questionnaire is completed, the tool generates a customized analysis of the respondent's risk factors, and provides tips and strategies to help reduce them.
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