Know your number, know your risk: Survey reveals majority of Canadians don't know their cholesterol number, an indicator for heart disease risk

Becel offers free cholesterol tests to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke, the leading cause of death for women in Canada

TORONTO, Jan. 26 /CNW/ - Lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke can start with knowing your cholesterol number.  Yet a recent survey conducted on behalf of Becel found that almost 70 per cent of Canadians - about 20 million people - don't know theirs. 

"More Canadian women die of heart disease and stroke than cancer," said Dr. Richard Tytus, a family physician. "A simple blood test to determine cholesterol levels can be an important first step to monitor heart health, as high blood cholesterol is a modifiable risk factor for heart disease and stroke."

Eighty four per cent of Canadian women say it's important that their loved ones have their cholesterol tested, yet one in three say they have not been tested themselves.  This suggests that women, as caregivers, place more emphasis on the health of their loved ones than themselves, and may not be considering their own risk factors - or how much their health matters to the ones they love.

That's why during heart health month this February, Becel - founding sponsor of The Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth campaign - is offering free cholesterol tests administered by registered nurses at malls across the country to help make sure Canadians know their cholesterol number, so they can start to understand their risk of heart disease and stroke. Visit to find a test location near you or speak with your doctor about getting your cholesterol tested.

Know Your Number, Know Your Risk
It's estimated that 41 per cent of Canadian adults have a total cholesterol level higher than the generally recommended target for total cholesterol of less than 5.2 mmol/L.i

"Reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke can start with knowing your cholesterol number, then taking other proactive steps to manage heart health," said Dr. Tytus. "In fact, it's possible to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 80 per cent by making healthy diet and lifestyle changes."

Elevated LDL Cholesterol: A Modifiable Risk Factor
Cholesterol is a substance that occurs naturally in the blood (blood cholesterol) and in food (dietary cholesterol).  High density lipoprotein, or HDL cholesterol, is the "good" blood cholesterol that takes excess cholesterol back to the liver to be removed by the body.  Low density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol is the "bad" blood cholesterol - it leaves plaque deposits in the artery walls, and excess levels can increase the risk of heart disease.

Take Small Steps to Love Your Heart Everyday                                                                                                                      
Make heart-healthy living a goal for 2011!  Once you know your cholesterol number, follow these three tips daily to help improve cholesterol:

  1. Include plant sterols in your diet - Plant sterols help to remove LDL cholesterol from the body by partially blocking its absorption into the bloodstream. In addition to eating fruits and vegetables, look for plant sterol-fortified foods and eat 2 - 3 servings of them every day. Two teaspoons (10 g) of Becel pro.activ provide 40 per cent of the daily amount of plant sterols shown to help lower cholesterol in adults.

  2. Focus on healthier fats - To maintain healthy cholesterol levels, replace saturated and trans fats in your diet with healthier polyunsaturated fat. Use vegetable oils such as safflower, canola and corn oil and products made from these oils, such as soft, non-hydrogenated margarine like Becel, which is low in saturated and trans fats.

  3. Keep moving - Being physically active on most days of the week can help you reduce your risk of heart disease. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week - even adding a brisk walk each day will help increase your physical activity.

About the Survey                                                                                                                                                                 
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.

About The Heart Truth™ campaign
The Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth campaign is raising awareness of women's risk for heart disease and stroke and spreading a lifesaving message to empower Canadian women to protect their heart health.  Heart disease and stroke is the leading cause of death for women in Canada- but most don't know it.  Most women believe heart disease is a 'man's disease' but in fact, women are more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke.  The Heart Truth is one in three women die of heart disease or stroke. But the good news is women can reduce their risk by as much as 80 per cent by making lifestyle changes.  The Red Dress is the official symbol of The Heart Truth campaign and represents women's courage, passion and their power for change as they share the truth with others and raise awareness of the importance of heart health.  To find out more, visit

About Becel                                                                                                                                                                          
Becel margarine was created in the 1960s as a response to the call from Dutch physicians for a heart healthier alternative to butter and animal fats. Since then, Becel has remained dedicated to educating Canadians about the importance of heart healthy living, and launched the first food fortified with plant sterols in Canada. Unilever, one of the world's largest consumer products companies, adds vitality to life by meeting everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care. Every day, 160 million people choose Unilever brands to feed their families and to clean themselves and their families.


i Statistics Canada..Canadian Health Measures Survey, Lipids (cholesterol levels).  The Daily Tuesday, March23, 2010. (


For further information:

Nicolas Brancaccio / Alia Hassan
416-849-8912 / 416-849-1306 /

Profil de l'entreprise


Renseignements sur cet organisme


Jetez un coup d’œil sur nos forfaits personnalisés ou créez le vôtre selon vos besoins de communication particuliers.

Commencez dès aujourd'hui .


Remplissez un formulaire d'adhésion à CNW ou communiquez avec nous au 1-877-269-7890.


Demandez plus d'informations sur les produits et services de CNW ou communiquez avec nous au 1‑877-269-7890.