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A new national study isn’t painting a pretty picture when it comes to the health of Manitoba men.

The study, conducted on behalf of the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF), found that 72 per cent of men across the country demonstrate two or more unhealthy habits.

In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the study found the problem was worse at 78.6 per cent.

The habits the study looked at include a poor diet, smoking cigarettes, problem drinking, not exercising or not getting regular sleep.

The findings are based on a survey of 2,000 men in Canada aged 19-94.

CMHF national partnership manager Cassondra McCrory says they chose those habits because they are contributors to chronic disease.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan led in smoking, unhealthy diets and lack of exercise.

“We know that 70 per cent of men’s chronic health conditions are caused by lifestyle and unlike genetics those are things that can be changed to improve a person’s health,” McCrory said. “What this is telling us is that we absolutely have the ability to decrease those rates of chronic health conditions and lead healthier and better lives.”

Only six per cent of the survey’s respondents exhibited none of the unhealthy behaviours and were classified as “very healthy.” Twenty two per cent exhibited one unhealthy behaviour and were considered “healthy.” 31 per cent of men exhibited two unhealthy behaviours and were considered “borderline.” And nearly 42 per cent exhibited more than three and were classified as “unhealthy.”

McCrory says leading healthier lives can also have a ripple effect on the healthcare system.

“Chronic diseases cost our healthcare systems millions of dollars a year and that can be avoided if some simple changes are made,” she said.

Other findings in the study include:

62 per cent of Canadian men have an unhealthy diet (68 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan)
54 per cent of Canadian men under or over sleep (53 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan)
59 per cent of Canadian men do not get 150 minutes of moderate-to-strenuous exercise per week (55 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan)
39 per cent of Canadian men have unhealthy alcohol consumption (34 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan); and
20 per cent of Canadian men smoke cigarettes (24 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan)
The study was completed to coincide with Men’s Health Week from June 11-17, 2018.

“What we suggest and encourage is that people pick something that is easiest for them,” McCrory said. “If it’s around eating and that’s an easier area for you, pick something around your eating habits and start with that. Make one small change, and once you feel comfortable with that you can make a second change in your life.”

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