TORONTO, Feb. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - Trees are economic assets to the province
of Ontario. A healthy natural environment has a direct connection to
health care costs, particularly where preventable diseases and
conditions are concerned. Our surrounding environment has a significant
impact not only on the air we breathe, but on the choice of activities
and recreation available to us as members of our community.
Last week, Trees Ontario released the publication A Healthy Dose of Green: A prescription for a healthy population at the 63rd Annual Ontario Forestry Association Conference. The paper highlights
the growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of forest
ecosystems for human health. Forests provide opportunities for physical
activity, cardiovascular and respiratory health, cancer prevention,
stress reduction and a wide array of other physical and mental health
Yesterday, the Drummond Report acknowledged that a significant portion of Ontario's spiralling health
care costs come from the lifestyles we lead. Recommendation 5-83 of the Report states bluntly, "Have doctors address diet and exercise
issues before reaching for the prescription pad when dealing with
health issues such as cardiovascular disease and late-onset Type 2
Research indicates that physical activity has positive effects on both
physical and mental health. Regular physical activity can reduce the
risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, musculoskeletal problems and
can be an effective treatment for depression and aid the recovery from
invasive medical treatments.
In Canada, approximately 82 per cent of teenagers are not active enough
to meet international guidelines for optimal growth and development. In
1999, physical inactivity resulted in $2.1 billion in direct
nation-wide health care costs, accounting for 21% of treatment costs
for artery disease, stroke, high blood pressure, colon cancer, breast
cancer, and diabetes.
Researchers around the world have observed positive associations between
physical activity and the presence of green spaces (such as regional
forests) in close proximity to residential areas. By establishing
natural spaces and enhancing forest cover through restoration
activities, we can provide our children with more natural playgrounds,
encouraging them to lead more physically active and healthy lives.
If Ontario aspires to reduce current health care costs, the province
must adopt a multifaceted approach that emphasizes prevention, in
addition to treatment. Sustainable environmental initiatives will have
a significant impact in reducing the amount of money and resources
devoted to preventative diseases and conditions.
A significant increase in the number of trees planted each year, on both
rural and urban landscapes, may offer a unique and creative solution to
this problem. Trees and forests not only offer more opportunities for
recreation, but also protect us from exposure to pollutants such as
carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter.
Download a copy of A Healthy Dose of Green.
About Trees Ontario
Trees Ontario is a not-for-profit tree planting partnership. Our goal is
to increase support to plant 10 million trees per year across the
province, thereby promoting better health and wellness for all
Ontarians. For more information, please visit www.treesontario.ca.
Help Us Save Our Environment. One Tree at a Time.
SOURCE Trees Ontario
For further information:
For more information, or to schedule interviews, please contact:
Shelley McKay, Marketing and Communications Manager