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Every year, The Ottawa Hospital admits more than 48,000 patients and sees more than 150,000 in its Emergency Departments. Many of these visits are preventable. The Ottawa Hospital would like to encourage all Eastern Ontarians to look after their health and take steps to prevent illness.

Health calculators can give you an idea of how your daily routine and lifestyle habits affect your physical and


mental well-being. Keep reading to learn more about:

Project Big Life is the online home of two calculators created by public-health scientists at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Dr. Doug Manuel and his collaborators created the life-expectancy and salt-intake calculators to help Ontarians see how their lifestyles could affect their health.

Manuel is a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. He’s also an associate professor at the University of Ottawa.

Life Expectancy

Manuel’s team created the life-expectancy calculator as part of a 2012 report that found six out of 10 deaths in Ontario are linked to five controllable habits: smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating and stress.

Nearly all Ontarians have at least one of these five unhealthy behaviours.

If each Ontarian addressed at least one of these habits, the average life expectancy would increase by up to 3.7 years, Manuel concluded.


Salt Intake

The salt calculator allows Ontarians to track how much salt they are eating and identify the main sources of sodium in their diet. The calculator, among the first of its kind in North America, was developed by analyzing the sodium levels of more than 20,000 grocery and restaurant foods, and is based on Canadian eating patterns and the most up-to-date data on sodium levels.

The calculator asks questions such as:

  • How often do you eat out?
  • Where do you eat out (fast food, table service, or fine-dining restaurants)?
  • How often and how much do you eat per day, week, or month?
  • What types of food do you eat (bread, pre-packaged food, cheese, etc.)?

On average, Canadians consume 3,400 mg of salt every day, which is more than two times the recommended amount. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and is a major factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. High sodium intake has also been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, stomach cancer and severe asthma.

JoAnne Arcand, a dietitian at the University of Toronto’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, collaborated with Manuel on the creation of the salt calculator.

To estimate your life expectancy or salt consumption, take five minutes to try these calculators:

Depression Risk

A research team at the University of Calgary and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute has developed a sex-specific tool, based on data about the risk profile of Canadians, to predict new onset of major depression.

The depression-risk calculator is used to calculate the chance the people who do not currently have depression will develop a major depressive episode over the next four years.

The calculator can be used for early detection and intervention before symptoms progress into a full episode.

The tool was developed by Dr. JianLi Wang, Dr. Scott Patten and Dr. Glenda MacQueen of the university’s Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education. Dr. Doug Manuel also collaborated on the calculator.

Last updated on: November 1st, 2023