Live healthy

What factors have the biggest influence on health?

A lot of attention is focused on weight and lifestyle behaviours, with strong messages about changes needed to become healthier. It is often not recognized that our lifestyle behaviours and health are influenced by so many things, including:

  • genetics,
  • family history,
  • biology,
  • education,
  • income,
  • environment, as well as
  • many other broader factors.

There has been so much attention given to childhood obesity and the possible risks associated with it that people tend to focus on weight alone without regards to what is really important: the overall health of a child.

What do people really want for their children?

Most will say they want them to have a healthy, happy childhood followed by a long, fulfilled, disease-free life.

How is this achieved?

Some factors that have a big impact on health are not modifiable (i.e. cannot be changed), such as genetics and family history. Although these have an effect on our overall health and even our lifestyle, there are important lifestyle factors that we do have some influence over, including:

  • nutrition quality,
  • physical activity level and cardiovascular fitness;
  • level of sedentary behaviour and amount of time sitting; and
  • quality and quantity of sleep.

Check out our Health information (Hi): A guide to wellness website for more information.

Patient education information


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Handouts (translated)


The importance of sleep, Eastern Health

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Last updated: 2022-06-22