TORONTO, Jan. 30, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontario is facing an urgent health care
crisis with a staggering financial and human cost. The tragedy is that
it is preventable but not enough is being done. That's the message sent
today by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ontario, Canadian Cancer
Society, Ontario Division, Ophea, and other members of the Ontario
Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (OCDPA) to the Ontario government
as they launch Better Health is Worth 0.5%.
"This March, the Ontario government will deliver its 2012 budget; this
is a critical opportunity to influence and shape the future health of
Ontarians," says Mark Holland, Director, Government Relations, Ontario,
Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Today we are calling on the public to
help us achieve our goal. We are asking them to reach out to their MPP
using our website, healthiestprovince.ca."
"Better health is worth 0.5% of the Ontario budget and together, we need
to encourage the government to act. By investing an additional $170
million in health promotion and disease prevention, we can curb
crushing health care costs. Ontario spends nearly 50 percent of the
provincial budget on health care to treat those who are already sick.
That's a staggering $46 billion and quickly rising - we need to take
action now and keep Ontarians healthy."
Up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke, and about half of all
cancers, can be prevented through healthy public policies and lifestyle
changes, such as increased physical activity, healthy eating, reducing
high-risk alcohol consumption and eliminating tobacco use. Currently,
the government spends only 0.35% of its budget on health promotion; the
Better Health is Worth 0.5% campaign aims to see that increased.
"It is imperative that the Government of Ontario commits to a strong
investment in public policies that support and encourage Ontarians to
make healthy choices to help prevent cancer and other chronic
diseases," says Rowena Pinto, Senior Director, Public Affairs, Canadian
Cancer Society, Ontario Division.
"The Better Health is Worth 0.5% campaign encourages the public to tell
their MPP, Premier and Finance Minister that their health is worth 0.5%
of the budget," added Holland.
The cost of medical treatment and lost productivity for chronic diseases
in Canada such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer
and lung diseases is estimated at a staggering $80 billion annually and
climbing. By 2030, healthcare costs could take up to 80% of Ontario's
program budget if nothing is done.
"Together we can put a stop to soaring health care costs and ensure
better, healthier lives for all Ontarians," said Dr. James Mandigo,
President of Ophea's Board of Directors. "We are urging all Ontarians
to make a difference; reach out to your MPP to let them know that
better health is worth 0.5%."
How does Ontario measure up?
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 Chris Markham, Co-Chair, OCDPA. "We deserve to have the Ontario
government invest in our health for this generation and beyond."
About the campaign:
The Better Health is Worth 0.5% campaign is an extension of the Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention
Alliance (OCDPA's) Healthiest Province initiative, and the Heart and
Stroke Foundation's successful Healthy Candidates campaign. It is an
historic collaboration of health partners that holds parties to their
election promises and continues our push to make Ontario the healthiest
province in Canada. Through MPP visits, local activations and
engagement, digital advocacy and social networking, the goal is to see
this year's budget increase spending on prevention and health promotion
from 0.35% of the provincial budget to 0.5%.
For more information on the Better Health is Worth 0.5% campaign or to take action now, please visit: healthiestprovince.ca.
Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (OCDPA), consisting of 26
member organizations, is the province's collective voice on chronic
disease prevention policies and programming. More information is
available at www.ocdpa.on.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
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
Image with caption: "Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance; The Heart and Stroke Foundation; The Canadian Cancer Society; Ophea. (CNW Group/ Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120130_C7738_PHOTO_EN_9427.jpg
SOURCE Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario
For further information:
Sr. Associate Manager, Media Relations
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Phone: 416-489-7111 ext. 353
Marketing and Communications Manager
Senior Coordinator, Media Relations
Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division