Prevention is the key to healthy living and to reducing the risk of many chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and kidney disease. In Northwestern Ontario, health data shows that our chronic disease rates are higher than the rest of the province. Data also shows that we need to improve our health behaviours and environments to prevent these illnesses. For example, in comparison to the rest of Ontario, we have more people who are overweight or obese (62% versus 52.6%), smoke (23.4% versus 17.4%), and drink heavily (23.7% versus 16.2%).
There are two types of risk factors that can influence the development of chronic disease - modifiable and non-modifiable. Modifiable risk factors are those that we can control or change (e.g. exercise, healthy eating, smoking, and alcohol consumption) and non-modifiable risk factors are those that we have no control over (e.g. family history, sex, race, and age). We need to focus on the risk factors that we can change.
Part of Prevention and Screening Clinical Services' aim is to help promote health and healthy living to both the public and our Hospital’s staff. Through education, personal skill development, and health promotion, the Hospital aims to prevent chronic disease and also to help manage it after diagnosis. Prevention and Screening Clinical Services is also working to create a healthy and supportive food environment at our Hospital to prevent chronic disease.