The continuing rise of lifestyle-related diseases and chronic disorders means that we need to take a fresh look at health and healthcare, and to remember that prevention is better than cure. The latest data on healthy life expectancy (the number of years lived in self-assessed good health) (2013 to 2015) show that it is now 63.4 for males and 64.1 for females. Even moderate exercise—a quick, 30-minute walk each day, for example—can lower your risk of heart problems. Studies have revealed that longer telomeres have been linked to a longer lifespan, while shorter telomeres have been linked diseases such as heart disease and dementia. Longer telomeres can also be inherited by the next generation.
The mission of the Duke Healthy Lifestyle Program is to empower children and adolescents to achieve a healthier lifestyle through family-based education, clinical care and behavioral change; to develop innovative solutions and disseminate knowledge regarding the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity; and to partner with communities to promote wellness in the environments where children live, learn and play.
Heavy drinking during pregnancy can lead to foetal alcohol syndrome in babies – which can cause a life-long learning disability as well as physical problems. Smoking can also affect their development. Research also suggests a pregnant woman’s diet can increase her child’s risk of obesity by changing the unborn baby’s DNA.
Healthy life expectancy at birth is an estimate of the average number of years babies born this year would live in a state of ‘good’ general health if mortality levels at each age, and the level of good health at each age, remain constant in the future. Similarly, healthy life expectancy at age 65 is the average number of remaining years a man or woman aged 65 will live in ‘good general health’ if mortality levels and the level of good health at each age beyond 65 remain constant in the future.
Long renowned as a leader in neuroscience, McGill is setting a new global standard for computationally intensive and interdisciplinary research on the brain, made possible with an $84 million investment from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives (HBHL) seeks to improve the lives of Canadians by advancing understanding of how the individual brain functions in health and disease, throughout our lives.