Heart and Stroke Foundation challenges Canadians to make One Million healthy actions by the end of Heart Month to help Make Death Wait

OTTAWA, Feb. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - This February, the Heart and Stroke Foundation is encouraging everyone to think about their heart, by challenging Canadians to act and take simple steps to prevent heart disease and stroke.

"We're calling on Canadians to join our movement," says David Sculthorpe, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Every action, big or small makes a difference. Simple lifestyle changes like preparing a heart-healthy meal, going for a walk, or quitting smoking can make it possible to change the odds against heart disease and stroke. We can Make Death Wait."

Nine out of 10 people have at least one risk factor, and 40 per cent have three or more. But there is good news for Canadians—80 per cent of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable.

"Although I wasn't overweight, I thought I was doing okay, but I was cutting corners on my health and realistically was fooling myself in believing I was healthy—then overnight I went from healthy to health risk," says Brian Campkin, a heart survivor, and HSF volunteer ambassador.  "There was a time when all I had for breakfast was take-out coffee and toothpaste.  Now I take the extra time and get the healthy start I need."   Time is thankfully something Brian no longer takes for granted, after a routine exam indicated that he needed a triple bypass.

Dr. Beth Abramson, HSF spokesperson and cardiologist, suggests that Brian's scenario is too common. And Canadians should heed his advice.  "It really comes down to a few simple steps - and a bit of discipline.  "Canadians can reduce their risk by making healthy lifestyle choices such as being physically active 150 minutes a week, knowing and controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and eating a healthy diet," says Abramson.  "If you missed getting on the resolution band wagon in January, February is a great opportunity to commit to heart health."  Other ways to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke include:

  • being tobacco-free
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • reducing stress
  • managing diabetes 
  • limiting alcohol consumption

The Foundation challenges Canadians on the heels of the launch of its groundbreaking Make Death Wait media campaign, a wake-up call  to Canadians that heart disease and stroke take one in three Canadians before their time  ̶  and is the #1 killer of women.

"This national multimedia campaign is all about giving Canadians longer, fuller lives," says Sculthorpe. "We want Canadians to take their heart health seriously."

"It's years of life that are at stake -the lost moments, cherished memories, and experiences that enrich our lives," says Sculthorpe.  "It's all about giving Canadians more time, and the health and ability to enjoy it."

Sculthorpe notes that the Foundation's long-term goal is reduce deaths due to heart disease and stroke by 25 per cent by 2020. "That represents almost 25,000 lives saved each and every year," he says. "If each Canadian takes action now to making heart-healthy actions, they can help us achieve these goals."

Heart Month is a national campaign that mobilizes Canadians to rally together in raising awareness and funds that have an enormous impact on the lives of all Canadians. During February, more than 85,000 volunteers will rally together across Canada to raise life-giving funds.

"We're determined to transform Canada into one of the healthiest countries in the world − inspired by our vision of eliminating heart disease and stroke in this country," says Sculthorpe. "Please open your doors to the Foundation and help give Canadians longer, fuller lives. It's all about reducing the impact of heart disease and stroke."

Every donation to the Heart and Stroke Foundation supports investment in life‐giving research, advocacy, and health promotion and education programs. To donate to the Foundation, visit heartandstroke.ca/donate.

Canadians can join the movement to make death wait by logging their healthy actions at www.heartandstroke.ca/makedeathwait.

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

SOURCE HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION OF CANADA

For further information:

Eileen Melnick McCarthy T: 613.569.4361 ext. 318 emelnick@hsf.ca

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