Internationally-acclaimed Canadian soprano shares her heart health
wake-up call and helps Becel®, founding sponsor of The Heart and Stroke
Foundation's The Heart Truth™ campaign, raise awareness of women's
TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - As mothers, wives, daughters, friends and
pillars of their communities, many Canadian women are quick to put
their own needs aside for the benefit of others. Whether it's caring
for an aging parent, dropping everything for a sick child, or inspiring
those around them to be and do their best, women are no strangers to
self-sacrifice. Yet while their hearts are in the right place, their
heart health may not be - and as a result, one in three Canadian women
die each year from heart disease and stroke1.
That's why Becel®, the founding sponsor of The Heart and Stroke
Foundation's The Heart Truth™ campaign, has partnered with
award-winning Canadian opera singer Measha Brueggergosman to spread a
potentially lifesaving message to help empower Canadian women to
protect their heart health. Measha underwent emergency open-heart
surgery in 2009 after a near brush with death due to a dissected aorta.
"Even though I spent a lot of time in my 20s trying to get and stay
'healthy' by losing weight, I completely neglected factors like blood
pressure and high cholesterol. As a result, I ended up in a scary
emergency situation and now need to keep a close eye on my heart health
for the rest of my life," said Brueggergosman. "So many women don't
realize that if they don't look after their own hearts first, they
might not be there to take care of the people they love. I hope my
story reminds Canadian women to protect and cherish their heart
The facts are heartbreaking but true: heart disease and stroke is the #1
killer of women in Canada - and in 2008 alone, there were seven times
more deaths among Canadian women from heart disease and stroke than
from breast cancer2.
Know Your Number, Know Your Risk
A survey conducted by Becel® found that almost 70 per cent of Canadians
- about 20 million people - don't know their own cholesterol number3. Yet it's estimated that as many as 10 million Canadian adults have a
cholesterol level that is higher than the recommended target4.
"Knowing their cholesterol number is one easy step that all Canadians
can take to help reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke, since
high blood cholesterol is a key risk factor for the disease," said
Maria Ricupero, registered dietitian. "In fact, women can proactively
reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke by as much as 80 per
cent by making lifestyle changes and taking action to improve their
To help address this issue, Becel®, in its role as founding sponsor of
the Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth™ campaign, is
offering free cholesterol screening tests at eight malls and in more
than 200 stores across the country during the month of February. Visit www.becel.ca for more information about testing locations and to learn more about
heart healthy living, or speak with a doctor about getting a
Get pro.activ about Heart Health
Brueggergosman's family has also seen its share of heart issues. In
fact, her father had to undergo a quadruple bypass a few years ago, and
there is a history of heart problems and diabetes in her family. Her
mother, Ann Gosman, is also now acutely aware of how lifestyle choices
can impact heart health.
"My family has seen so much heartache - literally - over the past few
years, and I can truly say from experience that the time is now for a
wake-up call for Canadian women to start taking care of their heart
health," said Gosman. "I want women to know that they should feel
empowered when it comes to their heart health, because it is possible
to help control this disease. Proper diet and exercise are priorities
in my life, and I make sure to get my cholesterol checked on a regular
Diet plays a critical role in heart health, and a healthy diet low in
saturated and trans fats may reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating
foods with plant sterols can also help significantly reduce cholesterol
"Plant sterols can help lower blood cholesterol by partially blocking
cholesterol absorption into the bloodstream," said Ricupero. "They're
found naturally in vegetables, fruits and nuts, but it's challenging to
get the amount recommended to lower cholesterol from these foods alone
- so that's why foods with plant sterols can help."
One serving (two teaspoons) of Becel® pro.activ® calorie-reduced
margarine with plant sterols provides 40 per cent of the daily amount
of plant sterols shown to help lower cholesterol in adults.
For more information, visit www.becel.ca.
About The Heart Truth™ campaign
The Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth campaign is calling on
women to put their own health first, make heart healthy lifestyle
changes, recognize heart attack and stroke symptoms and seek prompt
treatment. Heart disease and stroke is the # 1 killer of women in
Canada, but most don't know it. Heart disease is not a "man's
disease": women are more likely than men to die of a heart attack or
stroke. But by taking care of themselves and making incremental heart
healthy lifestyle changes, women can add more years to their life and
more life to their years. In fact, women can reduce their risk of heart
disease and stroke by as much as 80 per cent by making lifestyle
changes. The Red Dress is the official symbol of The Heart Truth
campaign. It represents women's courage, passion and their power for
change as they share the truth with others and raise awareness about
the importance of heart health. To find out more, visit www.thehearttruth.ca.
Becel® has always believed in the importance of caring for your heart.
It's why Becel® margarine was created, and why the brand remains
dedicated to educating Canadians about the importance of heart healthy
living. Through its development of educational resources to help
Canadians manage their heart health, its founding sponsorship of The
Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth™ campaign, and in the
development of products such as Becel® pro.activ® calorie-reduced
margarine with plant sterols, the first food with plant sterols in
Canada, Becel® maintains its commitment to heart health innovation and
education. For more information, visit www.becel.ca.
Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of fast moving consumer
goods with strong operations in more than 100 countries and sales in
180. With products that are used over two billion times a day around
the world, we work to create a better future every day and help people
feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services
that are good for them and good for others. In Canada the portfolio
includes brand icons such as: Axe, Becel, Ben & Jerry's, Bertolli,
Breyers, Degree, Dove personal care products, Good Humor, Hellmann's,
Klondike, Knorr, Lipton, Nexxus, Noxzema, Popsicle, Q-Tips, Ragu,
Skippy, St. Ives, TIGI, TRESemmé, and Vaseline. All of the preceding
brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of
Companies. Unilever Canada employs more than 1,600 people generating
approximately $1.4 billion in sales in 2011. For more information,
please visit www.unilever.ca.
1 Statistics Canada. Mortality Summary list of Causes, 2008.
2Statistics Canada. CVD - 34,909; Breast cancer - 4,955. 34,909 divided
by 4,955 = 7.046. Per Stats Canada, November 2011.
3 A total of 1,521 Canadians over the age of 18 answered an online survey
between December 6th and December 9th, 2010. The survey was conducted
by Leger Marketing. For a copy of the survey results, please contact
4 Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.3483991/k.34A8/Statistics.htm Accessed October 11, 2011.)
SOURCE Unilever Canada Inc.
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