Message from the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health
Heart Health Month
February is Heart Health Month and, as Minister of Health, I hope all Canadians will take this opportunity to take a good look at their lifestyle.
We make choices every day that affect our health. A heart-healthy lifestyle is one that includes regular physical activity, healthy eating and a healthy weight.
Nine of every 10 Canadians over the age of 20 have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Those risk factors for heart attacks and stroke include: high blood pressure or high cholesterol; diabetes; smoking; stress; physical inactivity; poor nutrition; misuse of alcohol and being overweight or obese.
Because cardiovascular diseases are a significant threat to good health and a leading cause of death, the Government of Canada is taking action:
- The Canadian Institutes of Health Research last year invested more than $95 million in heart-health research.
- Canada's Health Ministers have made it a priority to promote good health, the prevention of disease, disability and injury. Federal, provincial and territorial governments are also working together to curb childhood obesity.
- Canada's Health Ministers have adopted the interim goal of reducing the average sodium intake of Canadians to 2,300 mg per day by 2016. To help achieve this goal, the Health Ministers called on industry leaders to reduce sodium levels in food products voluntarily, and to work with governments to better educate consumers and health professionals.
- The Government of Canada's Cardiovascular Disease Program focuses on surveillance, preventing high blood pressure, and providing information to Canadians on prevention.
- Health Canada has developed tools to help Canadians make better food choices, including the Eat Well and Be Active Educational Toolkit, a nutrition labelling campaign, Canada's Food Guideand consumer information on sodium.
- The federal government provided $6 million over two years for ParticipACTION, announced in the 2010 federal budget, to enable the organization to promote more healthy lifestyles for Canadians through physical activity and fitness.
I would like to congratulate the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada for increasing awareness about cardiovascular health and raise research funds during Heart Health Month. Throughout the year, the Government of Canada is dedicated to ensuring we learn how to take better care of our health, including our hearts.
Minister of Health
Government of Canada
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