Healthy Living

Did you know... 90% of Canadians have at least 1 risk factor for heart disease, including smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity, obesity, high BP or cholesterol, and/or diabetes? But you can reduce your risk.

Risk factors

There are many risk factors that may affect your health and wellness – some are not under your control but there are many that you can change. You can reduce your risk of disease by managing your risk factors. Start by consuming a healthy diet as described in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, and participating in regular physical activity with the Physical Activity Guide.
Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide:
Physical Activity Guide:

Types of risks

Some factors that increase your risk of health problems can’t be controlled. These include:
  • Family history – if a close family member has some health conditions, your risk may be higher
  • Age – the older you are, the more likely you may be to develop some conditions
  • Gender – you may be more likely to develop some conditions if you are male or if you are female
  • Ethnicity
  • Personal history of a condition
Other risk factors you can control by changing your lifestyle. These include:
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Overweight
  • Stress
  • Drinking alcohol


Smoking has a negative effect on your health and is a major contributor to heart disease and cancers.
What can you do?
Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do. It may be difficult, but there are tools and support available.
  • Understand why you have trouble quitting
  • Be aware of your triggers and try to replace smoking with a healthy activity
  • Know that you will experience withdrawal symptoms but these should subside
  • Ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for help and about strategies for quitting including nicotine replacement therapy
  • Get support from friends, family and co-workers

High cholesterol

High cholesterol can cause your arteries to narrow, making it more difficult for blood to travel through your heart and body, and leading to heart disease.
What can you do?
  • Have your cholesterol tested, starting at age 40 for men and age 50 for women
  • Reduce your consumption of fats, especially trans or saturated fats
  • Eat healthy, including fibre-rich foods like whole grains, vegetables and fruit.
  • Choose fish and lean meats
  • Choose healthy snacks like air-popped popcorn, low-salt pretzels, or fruit
  • Bake, broil or steam your foods. Avoid frying.
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise

High blood pressure

High blood pressure (BP) causes blood to press too strongly on the lining of your arteries, wearing it down over time.
For a healthy adult,
Normal BP = 120/80 mm Hg or lower
High BP = More than 140/90 mm Hg
What can you do?
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit your consumption of salt. Use other herbs and spices in your meals
  • Read food labels and look for lower-sodium options
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise for 30 minutes on most days
  • If you are taking BP medication, take it exactly as prescribed by your doctor
  • Use a home blood pressure monitor to keep track of your BP

Inactive lifestyle

Being physically active helps heart health and overall wellness. Exercise should be a regular part of your day. Talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.
What can you do?
  • Be physically active for 30 minutes most days. This means that your breathing may be faster than normal, but you can still carry on a conversation.
  • Choose activities that will improve your endurance (walking, swimming), strength (gentle weight training) and flexibility (gentle stretching, bending)
  • Choose activities you enjoy
  • Find an exercise partner.
  • Set realistic, achievable goals
  • Reward achievements



60% of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight will have a positive effect on your overall health.
What can you do?
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Prepare foods with less fat by roasting, baking, or steaming
  • Avoid high-calorie, low-nutrient foods like sweet and salty snacks
  • Manage your portion size.
  • Avoid using food as a reward or when you have stress
  • Lose weight slowly and avoid fad diets
  • Know your body mass index (BMI) and your waist circumference (WC). The Pharmacist at Walmart can teach you how to measure them.



If your life is stressful you may experience symptoms such as an increased heart rate, high blood pressure, anxiety, tension or headaches. Finding the cause of your stress and managing it will help reduce your health risk.
What can you do?
  • Manage your stress with exercise, activities you enjoy, support from friends and family, or counselling
  • Practice stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga
  • Learn to say no when you are feeling “maxed out”
  • Get enough rest
  • Enjoy a healthy lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activities


Alcohol consumption

Excessive drinking (i.e., more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men) may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease.
What can you do?
  • Consider your recommended alcohol limits and manage your alcohol intake by choosing “mocktails” more often
  • One drink = 5 oz. of wine; OR 1 bottle of beer; OR 1.5 oz. of spirits
  • Ask the Pharmacist at Walmart about medication(s) that you may be taking. Alcohol may have an effect on your medication(s)


Important information

The Pharmacist at Walmart is knowledgeable about healthy living and can answer your questions about how to make healthy living choices.

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.

This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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