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Couch Potato Alert.

Canadians are so lazy they're putting their lives at risk.

In 1995, 2,500 adults were questioned about their physical activities, and the results were cross-referenced with medical data.

The bad news was published in 1998. "If you are inactive," said Dr. Nick Busing, "the impact on your health is on a par with smoking a pack of cigarettes a day."

And, how many of us are inactive? About two out of three Canadians.

As little as one hour of exercise a day dramatically reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, adult-onset diabetes, colon cancer, osteoporosis, and depression.

Researchers have found it is equally important for children and adolescents to exercise. During the first 20 years of life physical activity builds up bone mass. This gives protection against fractures later in life.

In October 1999, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned a new epidemic is about to break out - an epidemic of hip fractures. Loss of bone mass is the major cause of these injuries. However, they can be largely prevented by regular exercise throughout life.

Worldwide the WHO estimates there will be 6.3 million hip fractures a year by 2050, up from 1.7 million annually at present. In Canada, the numbers will go from 24,000 a year to 48,000 by 2025.
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Publication:Canada and the World Backgrounder
Date:Jan 1, 2000
Words:216
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