Health coalition urges candidates to walk the talk on disease prevention



    EDMONTON, Feb. 7 /CNW/ - Today a coalition of 15 prominent health
organizations identified as HealthVision2020 launched a campaign calling on
all of the Alberta political parties to support a sound government investment
in a dedicated health promotion foundation. If properly funded and structured,
the coalition predicts that the foundation would make Albertans the healthiest
people in Canada by the year 2020.
    HealthVision2020 is proposing that the equivalent of one percent of the
healthcare budget be devoted annually to the health promotion foundation - a
funding formula referred to as "the one percent solution". The coalition
proposes that the foundation be financed out of the general revenue fund or by
modest tax increases on liquor or tobacco without affecting the existing
healthcare budget.
    "For less than the cost of a major highway interchange annually, Alberta
can have a world-class health promotion foundation with the potential to
transform the quality of life of Albertans" said Dr. Kim Raine, Director of
the Centre for Health Promotion Studies at the University of Alberta. "We
challenge any party or candidate to propose a better investment with the
potential to greatly enhance the health, quality of life, and productivity of
Albertans".
    The coalition is urging its vast network of members, volunteers, donors
and supporters to contact their election candidates to urge them to support a
dedicated health promotion foundation. A focal component of the campaign will
be a survey of all candidates and party leaders to gauge their support for the
proposal.
    The survey results will be posted as they are received at
www.healthvision2020.ca and the party leaders' responses will also be
published widely in the final week of the election.
    "We are urging our political leaders to walk the talk on health promotion
and disease prevention" said Margaret Hadley, President of the College and
Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta. "Numerous health commissions and
experts including Mazankowski, Romanow and Kirby have made recommendations
calling for meaningful government investments in disease prevention and health
promotion. We can't afford to wait any longer - it's time for our political
leaders to act."
    "We cannot allow the epidemic of chronic disease to continue" said Dr.
Ian Montgomerie, President of the Canadian Cancer Society - Alberta/NWT
Division. "Chronic disease is placing a tremendous burden on our quality of
life, our economy and our healthcare system. A dedicated health promotion
foundation will help to stem this epidemic. Here's a message for our political
leaders: An ounce of compassion is worth a pound of cure."
    A 2005 Ipsos-Reid survey commissioned by the Canadian Cancer Society
revealed that 77% of respondents supported the creation of a "Wellness Fund
aimed at promoting wellness and healthy living in Alberta". The survey results
also found that 77% of respondents supported an investment of at least
$100 million in this initiative.
    A listing of coalition members and further information about the campaign
can be found at www.healthvision2020.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Edmonton: Holly Roy, at (780) 886-4972;
Calgary: Lorie Boychuk, at (403) 466-8637

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HEALTHVISION2020

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