Ontario not as healthy as other provinces across Canada

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 General News
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New Ipsos Reid poll shows Ontarians support an increased level of investment in health promotion and illness prevention to match that of British

Columbia and Québec.

To view the Social Media Release, click here: http://smr.newswire.ca/en/heart-and-stroke-foundation/ontario-not-as-healthy-as-other-provinces-across-canada

TORONTO,

May 17 /PRNewswire/ - When it comes to our health, Ontario is falling behind British Columbia and Québec. That is why today, the Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (OCDPA) announced the launch of a campaign calling on Ontario's political party leaders to make Ontario the Healthiest Province in Canada.

"We have good news and bad news," says Dr. Marco Di Buono, Heart and Stroke Foundation Spokesperson. "The bad news is that Ontario is facing a healthcare crisis, but the good news is that it's preventable as long as we make the investment now, and this new poll shows that the the majority of Ontarians agree. This is especially important for our children who deserve the best start to a healthy life, and for future generations." 

British Columbia spends $21 per person in health promotion and illness prevention. Québec spends $16 per person. Yet Ontario only spends $7 per person. "BC invests three times more than Ontario in health promotion policies and programs and their residents smoke less, are more physically active, and have healthier body weights. This clearly is leading to higher life expectancy rates than the rest of Canada," says Dr. Norman Giesbrecht, Co-Chair of the OCDPA. "We deserve to have the Ontario government invest in our health for this generation and beyond."

"As a cancer survivor, I am well aware of the importance of healthy eating and active living," says Janice Hodgson, Canadian Cancer Society Volunteer. "The Government of Ontario needs to invest more in public policies that support and encourage Ontarians to make healthy choices to help prevent cancer and other diseases."

A new Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by the OCDPA indicates that 9 in 10 Ontarians think it's imperative that we invest more dollars in health promotion and introduce policy changes to promote healthy lifestyles in key areas such as healthy eating, physical activity, mental health and addictions, and tobacco use. What's more, 8 in 10 Ontarians said that a provincial party's position on health promotion is an important factor in deciding who to vote for. 

The facts:

  • One in three Ontarians is affected by chronic disease
  • 80% of the population aged above 65 has at least one chronic disease, while approximately 70 percent suffer two or more
  • It is also estimated that 45 per cent of males and 40 per cent of females in Ontario are likely to develop cancer in their lifetime
  • Heart disease and stroke takes 1 in 3 people before their time, while 9 in 10 are at risk

The cost of medical treatment and lost productivity for chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and lung diseases is estimated at a staggering $80 billion annually and climbing. Ontario is spending 46 percent of its budget on healthcare costs that include caring for one in three Ontarians stricken with chronic diseases. By 2030, healthcare costs would take up to 80% of Ontario's program budget. This is clearly not sustainable, but the good news is that these costs can be avoided. Prevention of chronic disease is possible through improved health behaviours related to physical activity, healthy eating, reducing high-risk drinking and eliminating tobacco use. In fact, 80% of heart disease and stroke onset can be prevented so that Ontarians can live longer, fuller lives.

Nithy Sathyakumar's two children are now walking to school after the Active Safe Routes to School program took off in her children's school. "My kids are motivated and think it's fun to walk to school in the morning," says Mrs. Sathyakumar, mother of two children attending an elementary school in York Region. "After a healthy breakfast, there's nothing better than exercise to start off their day." Nithy wants the Ontario government to invest more in programs and policies that make it easier for kids to be more physically active in a safe environment.  "I've seen the benefits first hand, and I have decided that in the next election, I'm going to vote for the party that makes this a priority in their platform."

"As we just saw in the recent federal election, we have a volatile voter base in Ontario, and when young people care about an issue, they vote on that issue," says Monique Habbib, a young advocate for health promotion and the president of a youth-based organization, Operation Vote: The Next Edition. "Ontario's youth are tired of finding unhealthy food options, the cheap and easy options, and they're tired of going into debt to pay for gym or sport programs. From what I'm hearing at the community level, Ontario's youth want a government that can deliver better access to affordable food and recreation programs."

Ipsos Reid Methodology A total of 1,014 interviews were conducted online from January 27th to February 1, 2011 among Ontarians aged 18+ (results were weighted on region, age and gender to ensure the sample matched the actual adult population of Ontario). A sample size of this size has a margin of error +/-3.0%, 19 times out of 20. To see the full results visit: http://www.ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=5236

The Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (OCDPA), consisting of 30 member organizations, is the province's collective voice on chronic disease prevention policies and programming. The OCDPA has launched an advocacy campaign in the lead-up to Ontario's October election calling on political party leaders to commit to make Ontario the healthiest province in Canada. More information is available at www.ocdpa.on.ca or www.healthiestprovince.ca.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living and advocacy. For more information visit: www.heartandstroke.on.ca.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

Ophea is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting schools and communities through quality program supports, partnerships and advocacy, and is led by the vision that all kids will value, participate in, and make a lifelong commitment to healthy active living. For more information, visit www.ophea.net

/NOTE TO EDITORS: Media Assets accompanying this story are available as follows:

Photo:  http://smr.newswire.ca/media/articles/1287/3-gens-women.jpg

http://smr.newswire.ca/media/articles/1287/young-woman-running.jpg

http://smr.newswire.ca/media/articles/1287/blp0027970.jpg

Video: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/mmnr/smr/OCPDA-May16-VNR.mov

SOURCE Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario



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