Fast facts – Health

Stethoscope and a heartLife expectancy

Regions in Canada with the lowest life expectancies also possess some of the highest rates of smoking, obesity, and heavy drinking. Disparities in life expectancy

Leading causes of death

Cancer and heart disease are the two leading causes of death in Canada. For young adults aged 15 to 24, the top three causes of death in 2008 in order were accidents, suicide and homicide. Leading causes of death


People typically begin smoking during their teenage years. The teen smoking rate has remained around 20% since 2005 after declining from 29% in 2001. Smoking, 2010

About 15% of 12- to 19-year-olds are exposed to second-hand smoke at home. Exposure to second-hand smoke at home, 2010

Obesity and unhealthy weight

More than 1 in 4 Canadian children and youth are considered to be overweight or obese, according to a survey held from 2007 to 2009. Body mass index (BMI) for children and youth

Physical activity

While 5- to 17-year olds should get 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day, only 7% of young people attain this level, according to the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey.

About 70% of Canadians aged 12 to 19 report being at least moderately active (the equivalent of walking 30 minutes a day or taking an hour-long exercise class at least three times a week) Physical activity during leisure time, 2010

Kid's sports

Kids are participating less in organized sports than in the past. However, boys still participate more in sports than girls. See Chart 5.2 Children who regularly participate in organized.

Soccer has replaced swimming as first of the top 10 sports of children in Canada.

Injuries most often occur as a result of sports or exercise. About 1 in 4 youths aged 12 to 19 were injured in 2009. Activity-limiting injuries, 2009

Teen sex

Teenagers are delaying intercourse and are more likely to use condoms than in the past. Teen sexual behaviour

Teenage mothers are less likely to complete high school or postsecondary education than adult mothers and thus are more likely to live in low-income. Life after teenage motherhood

Life satisfaction

Almost all teenagers aged 12 to 19 report being satisfied with life (98% of boys and 95% of girls in 2009). Life satisfaction, 2009

Healthy eating

In 2010, 43% of Canadians aged 12 and older reported that they consumed fruit and vegetables five or more times per day, down from 46% in 2009. Fruit and vegetable consumption, 2010

On average, in 2004, Canadians consumed 110.0 grams of sugar a day, the equivalent of 26 teaspoons. Daily sugar consumption was highest among teenage boys aged 14 to 18 (172 grams or 41 teaspoons). Sugar consumption among Canadians of all ages


The prevalence of asthma among young children has declined to its lowest level in more than a decade. Recent trends. Youth are more likely to have asthma than older Canadians. Asthma, 2010


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