VICTORIA — Vancouver Island is said to have some of the healthiest people in the country who are active and eat well, but not compared to the rest of BC says the Vancouver Island Health Authority. An annual report released today showed our premature mortality rate is actually higher, thanks to higher rates of smoking, alcohol consumption and an increase chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick says if we don’t act now, problem patients may overwhelm an already fragile health care system. Several recommendations that include regular exercise and healthy eating are outlined in the report, with specific attention being paid to seniors. With aging baby-boomers approaching care needs the system could be slammed twice says Stanwick. Prevention through education will curb huge treatment costs in the future, and VIHA would like communities to embrace and support healthy lifestyle initiatives such as building bike paths, and creating smoke free beaches and parks. To view the report log on to www.viha.ca Follow Erin Glazier on Twitter: www.twitter.com

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